The MPV segment in India was largely stagnant with limited options and a rather flat demand curve. With small cars, then hatchbacks and finally SUVs of all shapes and sizes calling the shots, MPVs were mostly limited to fleet services. It took a brave challenger to launch a product in this category in a bid to pose a threat to the one vehicle that ruled the roost - Toyota Innova Crysta. The Crysta has been selling in solid numbers and has enjoyed almost singular supremacy for years on end, thanks to its reliability, decent looks and comfortable cabin. There is now, however, a tectonic change in the segment and how it is being viewd with MG Motor all set to become the latest entrant courtesy Hector Plus.
While the likes of Ertiga and XL 6 have performed well in moving families comfortably, the Hector Plus is expected to sit in the more premium price bracket that is likely to pit it against Innova Crysta and even the Carnival from Kia. Essentially a six-seater version of Hector - MG's debut product in India, the Hector Plus seeks to carve a distinct identity for itself and claims to have several segment firsts - from 360-degree camera view, front parking sensors and eight-colour ambient light to powered tailgate opening and four-way adjustable co-driver seat. To be offered in two petrol and one diesel engine options, Hector Plus is carrying a lot of hopes for MG.
All eyes would be on how MG prices Hector Plus and if it manages to undercut Innova Crysta, especially in the lower trims. The car is also expected to almost certainly underpin Carnival in terms of pricing. Carnival was launched earlier in 2020 and was presented by Kia as a luxury MPV. While Innova Crysta could continue to dominate the field of play and Carnival seeks a niche profile, Hector Plus may have the potential to rev up the segment. On the flipside, the stiff competition could well prove to be too hot to handle. For two auto makers who made India debut in 2019, it could be a deadly duel. Against Toyota, it would be more a question of eking out a chunk in the segment.