In a market like India, where selling MPVs is not a cakewalk, Maruti Suzuki has managed to create its own niche with the Ertiga.
With the sole aim of launching a pocket-friendly seven-seater vehicle for the Indian market, the carmaker launched the Ertiga in April 2012 at a starting price of Rs 589,000 (ex-showroom Delhi) for the petrol variant. Now four years since its launch, Maruti’s first-ever MPV has crossed the coveted 275,000 unit sales mark in the domestic market.
Based on the tried-and-tested Swift platform, the Ertiga ticks a number of boxes when it comes to the Indian car buyer, which is probably the reason for its success in the country. It gets the basics right with three rows of seats (a must-have for any vehicle in the segment), comes with economical petrol, diesel and CNG options, and also delivers car-like comfort and driving manners, thanks to its monocoque construction.
As per Autocar Professional’s calculations, till July 2016, Maruti has sold a total of 278,964 units of the Ertiga at an average of nearly 5,500 units a month. While these figures are not extraordinary when compared to the carmaker’s other hot-selling models, the feat is impressive nevertheless given the fact that the changing preferences of Indian buyers towards more feature-laden SUVs and crossovers along with the explosion of the compact SUV segment has pressurised volumes in the MPV segment.
In order to keep the competition at bay, Maruti has been constantly upgrading the Ertiga, with facelifts and various limited edition launches. The latest upgrade also featured the addition of a mild hybrid variant equipped with Suzuki’s patented SHVS system.
The Ertiga Hybrid not only became an instant hit among fleet and private owners alike, due to exemption from the Odd-Even scheme in Delhi-NCR, but also benefits from the Rs 13,000 subsidy under the government’s FAME India initiative for promotion of hybrid and electric vehicles.
Thus, in the Ertiga, Maruti has had another winner, which has established it as a serious player in the MPV and overall UV segments. What’s more, with multiple choices and variants of the Ertiga on offer, the carmaker has made it really difficult for other entrants to challenge its position in the tough-to-crack segment. As a result, players such as Hyundai Motor India and GM India, which were earlier looking to launch their own Ertiga rivals have shelved their plans for now. Therefore, given the fading competition and current entry barriers into the segment, the Ertiga is likely to continue to dominate the segment in the coming months.
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