Though Maruti has not confirmed the new Suzuki Vitara compact SUV for India, the emergence of three examples of the vehicle indicates that the country’s largest passenger car maker is exploring all the options. Given that SUVs are ruling the market of late, covering all possible price segments with a comprehensive lineup seems like a sensible move.
The vehicles could have been imported into India for a customer clinic and market study purposes. Considering that Maruti has been given an increased R&D responsibility by the parent company, it’s also possible that the units are here purely for non-marketing activities. We won’t be surprised if the Vitara is displayed at the Auto Expo 2016 to gather public opinion.
If at all Maruti decides to go ahead and launch the Vitara in India, it would be positioned slightly above the S-Cross. In the international markets, the Vitara employs the same set of 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines that are found in the Europe-spec S-Cross. Higher variants get AllGrip AWD system.
The Suzuki Vitara is currently being made at the company’s Hungarian plant. MSIL is likely to use the CKD route if it plans to launch it here.
The Vitara is strictly a 5-seater which borrows its engine options from an already existing product and this limits its prospects in India. It will very tricky to avoid cannibalization between Vitara and S-Cross. On the positive side, Maruti would have a wider coverage of the segment.