Maruti pins hopes on affordable multi-purpose vehicle RIII

Maruti Suzuki is all set to drive in the RIII, a new multipurpose vehicle, as competition in the small utility vehicle market gets hotter.

The RIII was shown as a concept at the January 2010 Delhi Auto Expo and it is going into production soon. The company will reportedly deliver the mini multi-purpose vehicle on a new platform to be ready by the end of 2011.

According to reports, Maruti has already sent a request for quotation to its vendors for the RIII.

High volumes are being quoted to vendors, as the RIII is also being considered for other markets like Latin America and East Europe, which are likely to be primary export targets.

The RIII is likely to be made at Maruti's Gurgaon plant initially before production shifts to an expanded Manesar plant. The global production of the RIII could be concentrated only in India, with fully built units or knocked down kits exported to other markets. Suzuki's significant shareholder Volkswagen could also be called on to then assemble the car for Latin America.

Suzuki is convinced about bringing the RIII to markets like Brazil. But it will be interesting to see the outcome of the study from Volkswagen that will decide on the RIII being assembled at Volkswagen plants in Brazil.

Such MPVs are akin to small vans having large interior space. Several carmakers such as Toyota, Ford and Nissan are planning to such a 7-8 seater vehicles at a reasonable price, which may yield more volumes.

The carmakers may base these on existing platforms (such as Toyota on the Etios platform, Nissan on the Micra and Ford on the Fiesta platform, or on an altogether new platform, such as Maruti's Concept RIII.