Maruti Suzuki to manufacture Jimny SUV at Gujarat plant

Massive global demand prompts Maruti Suzuki to install new assembly line for Jimny at its Hansalpur plant in Gujarat; India launch six months after exports begin, at a sub-Rs 10 lakh price; will be retailed from premium Nexa retail chain

By Autocar India calendar 27 Feb 2020 Views icon27433 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Ever since it made its global debut in 2018, the fourth-generation Suzuki Jimny has been in high demand worldwide. Enthusiasts in India, too, have been hoping Maruti Suzuki launches the plucky off-roader here. Their wishes are set to come true because the company is set to commence production of the Jimny in May this year.  

Having showcased the Jimny, which was the Urban Car finalist in three categories at the 2019 World Car Awards, at Auto Expo 2020, Maruti Suzuki was non-committal about launching it in India despite the massive euphoria built up around it.

Taking the sales figures of the discontinued Gypsy as a reference, the company would be hard-pressed to sell more than 1,000 units a month of the successor to the iconic 4x4. To make a business case for the Jimny, the company would need additional volumes, which could be provided by export markets, and it appears production constraints at Suzuki’s Japan facility have presented Maruti Suzuki with just the opportunity it needs.

Suzuki’s plant in Kosai, Japan, which manufactures the Jimny amongst other models, has an annual production capacity capped out at 490,000 units. Hence, it’s becoming difficult to increase Jimny production to meet growing global demand for the off-roader.

To supplement production from Kosai, Suzuki is setting up a new assembly line for the Jimny at its plant in Hansalpur, Gujarat, where it has unutilised capacity. Hence, large export volumes are what will give Maruti Suzuki the economies of scale needed to make the Jimny viable for production in India.

A source says Maruti Suzuki is targeting monthly production of 4,000 – 5,000 units of the Jimny (codenamed ‘YWD’) and “a bulk of the production will be exported”. The small 4x4 is set to be introduced in India six months after exports commence, at a sub-Rs 10 lakh price tag and will be retailed via Maruti Suzuki’s premium Nexa retail chain.

Staying true to its roots, the fourth-gen Jimny retains the body-on-frame construction, compact dimensions and light weight that saw the original become a hit with the off-road community. In terms of design, the latest Jimny continues to look boxy and refreshingly simple; it is equipped with four-wheel drive as standard and also gets a touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

1-5-litre petrol power
Powering the Jimny is Suzuki’s K15B 1.5-litre petrol engine; the same unit that powers the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza facelift, Ertiga, XL6 and Ciaz in India. A 5-speed manual and 4-speed torque convertor automatic are the gearboxes on offer abroad.

In terms of safety features, the Euro-spec Jimny gets six airbags, ISOFIX child-seat mounts, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a seat-belt reminder and a lane-assist system, and has also received a three-star crash test rating from Euro NCAP. 

Jimny will boost Maruti Suzuki exports
For Maruti Suzuki India, overseas shipments of the made-in-India Jimny SUV will help boost its export numbers. In the first 10 months of FY2020, the company has shipped a total of 85,450 units, down 1.29 percent year on year. At present, of the total 20 passenger vehicle OEMs in India, Maruti Suzuki ranks No. 3 after Hyundai Motor India (154,982 / 15.75%) and Ford India (111,180 (-16.26%). Nissan Motor India is fourth in the India PV exporter list with 65,392 units (39.45%).

 

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