Maruti plans big expansion with new SUV, LCV models

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the leader in the domestic car market, is seeking to nearly double the number of its models to 25, including an entry into the SUV and light commercial vehicles (LCV) segments, the company said today.

Maruti plans big expansion with new SUV, LCV modelsMaruti is also preparing to launch a mid-sized sedan 'Ciaz' to replace its SX4.

The company will within a few months launch an SUV to compete with Renault's Duster, which will be followed by a compact SUV in 2016 to take on segment leader Ford EcoSport, as part of a strategy to be present in newer segments of the passenger vehicle market.

Maruti Suzuki is setting up a separate network for its new lines. It is putting up a new plant in Gujarat that will have a total annual capacity of 1.5 million units.

''To sell three million cars (annually), we need to have at least 25 models. With 12 to 15 models we would not be able to meet this target,'' Maruti Suzuki India chairman R C Bhargava told PTI in an interview.

The company currently sells over a dozen models, starting from entry level Alto 800 to the multi-purpose vehicle Ertiga.

Bhargava said only the could determine by when the company could touch the three-million mark.

''We will be present in SUV segment in few months from now, a model which will be competing with Duster in that size. It has to be something which can compete with the Duster, and in 2016 we will have a compact SUV under 4 meter, so that it gets benefit of lower excise duty and which will be in the same segment as Ford EcoSport,'' Bhargava said.

Both the SUVs will be available in petrol, diesel and CNG versions, he added.

He further said, ''So at that time, we will also be competing in the full 100 per cent of the car market and not 79 per cent as we are doing currently.''

Underlining the need for Maruti to have full play in all car segments, Bhargava said, ''Last year we had a market share of 38.9 per cent, and this year till date we have 44.4 per cent, which is out of only 79 per cent of the total market as we are not present in the SUV segment now.''

When asked about the overall investments required to have 25 models, he said the company hasn't arrived at a figure yet and it is being worked out.

With the upcoming launches of the SUVs and LCV, the annual production capacity of 1.5 million units from the Manesar and Gurgaon plants is expected to be fully utilised by 2015-16, he said.