auto news desk, Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker, seems to be focusing a lot on SUVs these days. But, the competition in the SUV segment has become very high. Hence, Maruti Suzuki is also looking to offer a wide range of SUVs to its customers so that it can attract more and more customers. For this, it is gradually increasing its SUV portfolio. Last year, the company launched the new Grand Vitara in India and will soon be launching the Franchise and Jimny SUVs. Against this backdrop, we had an exclusive chat with Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki.
1. Question- How has been the response to Frunks and Jiminy?
In response to this, Shashank Srivastava said that both the vehicles are getting good response. Jimny has around 23500 bookings and Franks has around 16,000 bookings. If both are combined then about 40000 bookings are done. The vehicles will be launched in April, so when the prices are announced, the sales are expected to be even better, he said.
2. Question- Despite the lifestyle SUV market being small, what would be the reasons for the Jimny getting such a good response?
— He said, ‘There are two big reasons for this, the first is that Jimny is a very old brand, it has been present in the international market for a long time, the Jimny brand is more than 50 years old. It’s a great epitome of Suzuki’s 4×4 technology for a small SUV. People are already aware of the Jimny and know its brand positioning.
Srivastava said, “Another reason could be that the Jimny customers are niche customers. They are more passionate about the product, so because they (booking customers) already knew about the Jimny brand, they booked earlier and sooner.
3. Question- The market in the front segment is big but its booking is less as compared to Jimny, why so?
— He said that the booking of Franks is also going on as expected by the company. Competition in the compact SUV segment is high, with around 16 to 18 products. So in that sense the bookings are fine and we haven’t revealed the prices yet, when the prices are revealed then after that the bookings for the Franks will be even better.
4. Question- It is being said that the Fronx will find a place in the portfolio between Baleno and Brezza, is it so? (what will be the cost)
— Shashank Srivastava said that this can happen in terms of pricing (price will be between Baleno and Brezza). It is an SUV, loaded with great technology, a new vehicle and in that sense it is in the same category as the Brezza but the Brezza has a 1.5L engine and has two engine options – 1L and 1.2L. So in terms of pricing it may be in between (Baleno and Brezza) but in terms of category it is compact SUV only.
5. Question- Maruti reached village to village on the basis of its cheap cars but now it is also offering premium SUV, so how will the company assure the customers that its premium SUV will also be as reliable as its budget cars? ,
— In response to this, Shashank Srivastava said that ‘Maruti should not have any problem in this. In 2015-16, when we brought the Nexa brand (dealerships), we tested this segment (slightly premium cars). The cars sold under Nexa are of an ambitious kind, this year it has registered a growth of 47 per cent in sales and will sell around 3.70 lakh vehicles.