Maruti aims to double SUV market share to 25 percent in FY24, aims to dethrone Tata Motors from number 1 position
With the new range of SUVs, Maruti Suzuki is aiming to sell over half a million SUVs in the current financial year and in the process inch ahead of rivals.
Led by the new compact SUV Fronx, Maruti Suzuki – the country’s largest car maker plans to dethrone Tata Motors from the number one position in the fast-growing SUV space in FY24 – its last frontier.
Already a leader in every segment of the passenger vehicle market in India – right from hatchbacks to sedan to MPVs and Vans – a weak presence in SUVs had pulled down Maruti Suzuki’s market share in the overall passenger vehicle market to less than 45 percent in recent years.
Tata Motors was the biggest beneficiary of the same, especially after covid – where its own portfolio of SUVs widened from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 25 lakh, helping the homegrown car maker to march ahead to its record volumes and market share.
Along with the lifestyle SUV Jimny and the full-year model availability of Grand Vitara, Maruti Suzuki expects to sell over half a million SUVs in the current financial year and corner over a fourth of the market.
If Maruti Suzuki is able to achieve this internal target – then its Nexa channel through which Fronx and Jimny will be sold - may also outsell Tata Motors in the overall passenger vehicle space to grab the number two position. This may also put Maruti Suzuki on a strong path to regaining 50 percent market share by the next financial year.
Shashank Srivastava, senior ED, sales, and marketing at Maruti Suzuki says “Fronx is entering the largest sub-segment of the SUV market, with the launch of Jimny and Fronx, our market share should go up to 25 percent, our MD has given us the target to be number 1 in the SUV space. It is a very competitive space, there are more than 20 brands in the segment, it is very competitive, and a very large number of brands compete there. There would be some amount of cannibalisation, consumer types for Brezza and Fronx are different. We do hope that we will be able to attract consumers from our competitors.”
Fronx is Maruti Suzuki’s biggest bet – which is aimed at the entry SUV buyers – a segment that helped Tata Motors grab the SUV leadership from the South Korean car maker post the launch of Punch – which averages about 10,000 units a month.
According to people in the know, Maruti Suzuki is likely to strategically place Fronx between Rs 7.5 lakh to Rs 11.5 lakh to cater to a wider audience of sub-compact entry SUV buyers like Magnite, Kiger, and Punch with a 1.2 litre naturally aspirated engine and also appeal to the prospective buyers of Venue, Sonet amongst others with its 1 litre turbocharged engine.
In FY23, the SUV market accounted for 43 percent of the overall passenger vehicle market at about 1.6 million, despite the market growth likely to drop to a single digit of 5-7 percent in the current financial year, the SUV segment will continue to outpace the market and is forecasted to close at 1.9 million units.
This would mean the share of SUVs will grow to 47 percent of the overall passenger vehicle market in the current financial year, taking India closer to global averages of about 50-55 percent of the overall market.
Tata Motors was the leader with annual sales of 3.57 lakh units with a market share of 21 percent, closely followed by Mahindra & Mahindra at 3.54 lakh units with just 3000 units separating the two – and Maruti Suzuki at number 4 with 2.02 lakh units with a 12 percent market share.
Srivastava believes within the next couple of years, half of the vehicles sold in India will be SUVs.
While Maruti Suzuki has a strong tailwind from the series of new launches – i.e. Grand Vitara, Fronx, and Jimny, Tata Motors will look to consolidate its presence in FY24 and rely on MCE or Mid-cycle enhancements to build its presence. The company is likely to launch the MCE version of Nexon, Harrier, and Safari with significant exterior and interior changes ahead of the festive season. The Indian car maker will also rely on incremental volumes coming out of adding CNG and electric variants during the current year.
As Maruti Suzuki is likely to take a significant lead in FY24 based on the production plan accessed by Autocar Professional, Tata Motors is likely to make a comeback in FY25 with entry into the fast-growing mid-size SUV market with Curvv in 2024 and later Sierra in FY26.
In this fight for market share, the Indian buyer is the real winner and is spoilt for choice. In FY24, the number of models available for Indian buyers will cross 50 and there are SUV options available right from Rs 6 lakh to over a crore. Not only are these models getting safer and cleaner – but the SUVs are also being spruced up with gadgets and gizmos – with the value proposition being stretched to levels never seen before.
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