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suv india: Half-a-dozen new SUVs to jostle for space in India over next two years

Mumbai: About half a dozen completely new sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are set to hit the Indian roads over the next couple of years amid a growing preference among car buyers for models with high seating, roomy interiors and high ground clearance.

With small cars and sedans losing ground to SUVs, the share of the latter in the overall market is expected to increase to 48% by the end of 2024-25 from 43% at present, as per industry estimates.

While most of the automakers are expected to have busy calendars with their SUV offerings, car market leader Maruti Suzuki India is likely to lead the trend as it plans to have a portfolio of five SUVs. In addition to its rebadged version of the Toyota Innova Hycross, which will go on sale in a few months, Maruti will launch a four-metre-plus SUV in 2025.

Code-named Y17, it will be pitted against the Mahindra XUV 700 and be the first model to be rolled out from its new plant at Kharkhoda in Haryana with annual volume expectation of around 130,000 units, people aware of the company’s plans said.

By addressing the varied spectrum of the SUV market, much the same way it did in the small-car market, Maruti is gunning for the leadership position in the SUV space by the end of this fiscal year.

The Indian unit of Japan’s Suzuki Motor is targeting sales of 475,000 SUVs in FY24, the company said on its call with investors after the March 2023 results. This would imply doubling its SUV volume from the last fiscal year. It is targeting a 25% market share in the SUV space, taking the passenger vehicle market share to 45%, company representatives said at a supplier partners conference held on May 1. At the end of fiscal 2023, Maruti had a share of 41% in India’s passenger vehicle market and 12% in SUVs.

Other automakers are also revving up with SUV portfolios. Hyundai Motor India will be introducing a micro-SUV named Exter in the next few months with an initial annual sales expectation of 40,000-45,000 units.

Likewise, Honda Motor Co plans to launch its first mid-size SUV after a hiatus. To be called Elevate, the model will have its world premiere in India next month, Honda said in a statement on Wednesday. The Creta rival would target the local as well as global audiences.

Tata Motors, which saw a steady increase of SUVs in the overall mix, plans to introduce the Curvv, an SUV coupe in 2024. Besides, it will launch the Tata Sierra in 2025.

Other global carmakers are also looking to ride on the SUV bandwagon.

While Nissan Motor India plans to launch the new-generation X-Trail later this year, Renault is looking to get the new-generation Duster in 2025.

French carmaker Citroen is expected to launch the C5 Aircross SUV while Skoda will bring in a compact SUV under the India 2.5 project in 2025. Analysts are of the view that as automakers in India and globally re-align their portfolio to electric, SUVs will gain further momentum.

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