Maruti Grand Vitara – Living the grand life

Marking a change from the usual hatchbacks and entry-level sedans, Maruti re-enters the big, bad, expensive world of sports utility vehicles with the new Grand Vitara

If the 800 is HMT and the Esteem, Titan, then the Grand Vitara must surely be the Harry Winston in the Maruti stable. For the Grand Vitara is as lofty a creation from Maruti as the Harry Winston watch is in the expensive world of premium wrist- wear. Of course, the comparison may be a little stretched, considering that the most premium Grand Vitara retails for around Rs.15 lakh, while the most expensive Harry Winston can eat into your bank balance by over Rs.2 crore.

Maruti Grand VitaraBut we are digressing from the main point, which is this: the Grand Vitara is a rarity, not only on the roads but also in the mind of the Indian consumer. Of course, there is very little of Maruti in the Maruti Grand Vitara, considering it is imported as a completely built-unit (CBU) from the Suzuki factory in Japan. That may explain the high price as compared to other Maruti products.

People who have usually associated Maruti with the ubiquitous 800 and its cousins like the Alto and Esteem have been pleasantly surprised in the recent past. Starting with remodelling old warhorses like the Wagon R and Zen, Maruti has also muscled in on some new territory with the premium hatchback Swift and the A1 sedan SX4. With the new Grand Vitara, Maruti seeks to capture the growing SUV market, a segment where its earlier offering of the Vitara in an older avatar had not managed to garner much popularity.

Maruti has been on a continuous journey of innovation of late. As Jagdish Khattar, its former managing director and chief executive of Maruti Udyog Limited, was quick to point out at the new Vitara's launch on 5 July 2007, ''Grand Vitara happens to be our fifth model in less than 12 months. The Wagon R Duo, Zen Estilo, Swift Diesel and SX4, while being successful, also showcase the diversity of models that Maruti has been able to offer in the past year.

The Grand Vitara takes that story forward. It widens the range of products that Maruti offers. We are reaching out to customers who want an authentic SUV experience, backed by the values and assurance of Maruti Suzuki.''

This new Grand Vitara is a third generation Vitara offered by Suzuki, replacing the second generation XL-7 that was launched in India in 2003. The first generation had a long life spanning a decade after being introduced in 1989, as the Suzuki Escudo, the name by which it is still known in its home country of Japan.