Maruti Suzuki Growth Powered by MPVs

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

The crossover craze isn’t limited to just North America.

Once in a while, we here at TTAC cast our gaze outward, beyond our shores. A quick cruise of global automotive news shows that Maruti Suzuki helped drive big growth in the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment in India in 2019. Yep, people on the other side of the world like crossovers just as much as we do.

While much of the Indian automotive market saw contraction, with some segments in the double digits, MPVs saw a segment growth of 35 percent. The market share of these vehicles has risen from 5 percent to 8 percent. At its peak, the MPV’s market share was 10 percent.

Those numbers were driven by launches from Kia, Toyota, and Maruti Suzuki. The newest generation of the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga accounted for nearly a 50 percent share of the segment. The Ertiga competes against a bunch of vehicles we’ve never heard of, including the Renault Triber and Toyota Innova. Maruti’s XL6 is also a player in the segment, at the luxury end, along with the Mahindra Marazzo.

Shashank Srivastava, a Maruti Suzuki exec, told the Economic Times that design is number one on the minds of MPV buyers. That seems hard to believe, since so many of our crossovers are anonymous blobs of bland, but perhaps life is different on the other side of the globe.

“It has been an exceptional year for us in the MPV segment. MPVs grew by over 100% led by the new Ertiga. With the new-generation vehicle, we are not only seeing the percentage of first car buyers moving up, but also an increasing number of buyers who are affluent and prefer a top-end variant,” said Srivastava.

The share of gas-powered MPVs is up from around 5 percent a few years ago to at least 35 percent now; Maruti Suzuki says interest in compressed natural-gas variants of the Ertiga is also high. Overall, the percentage of first-time buyers for Ertiga has gone from 16 percent to 37 percent over the past seven years.

Gaurav Vangaal, country lead for production forecasting at IHS Markit, told the Times that MPVs are becoming more appealing to retail customers because of increased focus on ride comfort, design, and features. All while practicality and interior space still matter.

“MPVs today have similar specifications to the high-on-aspiration SUVs. Barring the difference on exteriors, there is very little to differentiate on the inside. Fleets always formed a sizeable share of the MPV market, but with new-generation vehicles, we expect increased traction from personal buyers too,” Vangaal was quoted as saying.

Sounds like what execs and analysts say about crossovers in this part of the world.

[Image: Suzuki]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 16, 2020

    There is an explanation for you: Maruti or Suzuki have nothing to do with US market so no one cares what they came up with this time. Jack would not help cause either.

    • See 1 previous
    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 17, 2020

      @dont.fit.in.cars I usually start reading with comments. If topic seems interesting I start reading article but skip most obvious or boring paragraphs which normally constitutes 80% of article. Yes read only 20% of article because they are too much paste'n'copy.

  • Scott25 Scott25 on Jan 17, 2020

    An MPV is not a crossover. It’s a minivan, with or without sliding doors. Putting crossover styling cues on them doesn’t make them any more of a crossover than the Prius C was when they cladded it up. What we call minivans are generally much bigger than MPVs elsewhere, but the Mazda 5 and Kia Rondo were proper MPVs, like the vehicles in the article. The Renault Scenic pretty much defined the category.

    • HotPotato HotPotato on Jan 18, 2020

      Came here to say this. I loved my Ford C-Max (more a tall hatch though as it was a little short for a proper MPV), and my Mazda MPV before that (more an upholstered cargo van though as it was a little large and rear-wheel-drive for a normal MPV). Mazda 5, Kia Rondo, Renault Scenic, VW Sharan, Ford B-Max and Grand C-Max (bracketing my C-Max), hell even the Fiat 500L, bring 'em on...I love this category. Me and like two other people south of Canada, apparently.

  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM "Research" labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He had no objection from GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. (basically he goofed off two entire afternoons out of the five) He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!
  • 3-On-The-Tree I only buy Toyota cars. But if the Chinese cars are cheap people will buy them. They don’t care about the above issues that were stated in this forum.
  • Tassos Ford models are like dumb Hollywood movies. The original is far better than their god damned sequels. This was true of the Mustang vs the II, AND the Capri vs its second gen, and their BEV PORKER atrocities many decades later
  • Jeff I would not buy a Chinese car with the current global situation with Taiwan and Ukraine but I believe eventually China will become the number 1 producer of vehicles globally. Lou brought up a valid point that much of the content of new vehicles has components made in China. Even many of the tires that are sold are made in China. Try buying a small appliance or electronics that are not made in China. Many of the electric motors that go in power reclining furniture are made in China. Many auto parts especially replacement parts are made in China.
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