Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara: One-year report card

Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer of marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki, talks about the Grand Vitara and the future of Maruti SUVs
(In pic) Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer of marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki.
(In pic) Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer of marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki.Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki recently celebrated the first anniversary of their Grand Vitara. We sat down with Mr Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer of marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki, reflecting on the accomplishments and insights gained during this period.

Sales figures

Maruti Suzuki introduced the Grand Vitara in July, with actual sales starting in September. Within a year, they managed to sell approximately 120,000 units. This remarkable achievement is even more impressive given the supply chain challenges, particularly related to semiconductor shortages, that the automotive industry faced during this time.

Diverse powertrain offerings

One significant factor contributing to the Grand Vitara's success is the wide range of powertrain options offered. The vehicle was launched with a combination of powertrains, including gasoline, hybrid, and a CNG version. These options have not only boosted sales but also helped establish hybrid technology as a viable choice in the mid-SUV segment.

The breakdown of sales as per powertrain options for the Grand Vitara – CNG (13-14 per cent), hybrid (23 per cent), and the rest are from gasoline.

Market leader in Rs 10-20 lakh segment

Maruti Suzuki, traditionally dominant in the sub-Rs 10 lakh category, has now become the market leader in the Rs 10-20 lakh price range, thanks in large part to the Grand Vitara. This marks a significant expansion into a higher price segment for the company.

Maruti Suzuki becomes the top SUV manufacturer

The Grand Vitara's introduction also played a pivotal role in helping Maruti Suzuki achieve its goal of becoming the number one SUV manufacturer in India. Previously holding only 12 per cent of the SUV market share, the company has surged to nearly 25 per cent in the current quarter, strengthening its position as the top SUV manufacturer.

About the Nexa channel

Maruti Suzuki's Nexa channel, which includes models like the Grand Vitara, Jimny, and Fronx, has gained prominence in the industry. In the current quarter, Nexa is the second-highest brand in the industry (after Maruti Suzuki), boasting a 15 per cent market share, largely thanks to the Grand Vitara's sales.

About the ALLGRIP feature

While the Grand Vitara offers an ALLGRIP all-wheel-drive option, it comprises only about two per cent of the total sales. Factors affecting its acceptance include the absence of an automatic transmission and a significant price gap. Despite the low numbers, there are no plans to discontinue the ALLGRIP option, with expectations that its popularity will increase.

Current waiting times and future production

The waiting period for the Grand Vitara is approximately two months, with around 20-23 thousand pending bookings. Maruti Suzuki is increasing production, thanks to improvements in semiconductor supply, which will help reduce waiting times.

Customer insights

The Grand Vitara has attracted a more affluent and mature customer base with an average age of around 41 years – the average is 38 years for Nexa customers. First-time buyers are also lesser compared to the average Nexa customer as most customers are looking to upgrade or add the vehicle to their existing collection. Another interesting fact is that about 50 per cent of Grand Vitara customers were considering competitor vehicles before choosing this model.

Future enhancements and festive season expectations

Maruti Suzuki does not have immediate plans for product enhancements for the Grand Vitara this festival season but continuously evaluates market requirements. The company expects robust sales during the festive season, targeting around five lakh units for Maruti Suzuki of which around one and a half lakh are expected to be from SUVs.

In summary, the Grand Vitara has marked a significant milestone for Maruti Suzuki, offering diverse powertrain options, expanding into a higher price segment, and solidifying the company's position as India's leading SUV manufacturer. The vehicle's success has been underpinned by its appeal to a more affluent and mature customer base, with a significant portion of customers switching from competitors. Despite some challenges, the Grand Vitara's future looks promising with expectations of increased demand for ALLGRIP and continued production growth.

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