Maruti estimates a fourth of its sales to be SUVs this fiscal


New Delhi: One out of every four vehicles sold by Maruti Suzuki, which has long ruled Indian roads with its range of small cars, is expected to be a sports utility vehicle in the current fiscal, indicating a sharp shift in customer preference in a country where concerns over fuel efficiency and low costs had once dictated buyer behaviour.

The carmaker is expected to sell nearly half a million units of Fronx, Brezza, Jimny and Grand Vitara this fiscal though the waiting period on all these models run into several months. Maruti Suzuki has pending orders of 153,000 units for its range of SUVs.

Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director (marketing and sales) at the country’s largest carmaker told ET, increase in purchasing power, higher ground clearance which helps better navigate roads, upright seating stance and greater flexibility in use of available space vis-a-vis a sedan are driving demand for SUVs in the Indian market.

Maruti Suzuki – which is set to launch its fourth product in the category lifestyle SUV Jimny next month – is banking on more than doubling volumes in the space on the back of full-year availability of midsize SUV Grand Vitara, and compact SUVs Brezza, Fronx and Jimny. With sales of 202,800 units, Maruti Suzuki’s share in the SUV category stood at 12.6% for the full fiscal year (FY23).

While the average weighted price of a vehicle in the Indian market has gone up by over 50% in the last six years, disposable income among consumers too has been on a rise is spurring sales in this segment.

“Customers today demand more features. While price is still a key consideration, its relative weightage has come down,” said Srivastava. Coupled with this, the sub-metre rule, which taxes all vehicles at 28% based on length and irrespective of the body type, has been shifting buyers away from entry-sedans.

Overall, as many as 1.9 million SUVs are projected to be sold in the ongoing financial year, which is an increase of around 19% over 1.67 million units sold in FY23. Small car sales are expected to grow modestly to close at about 1.4 million mark in the same period.

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