Maruti’s upcoming Creta, Seltos rival could be based on this Toyota SUV
Maruti Suzuki, regarded as very dominant player in the hatchback segment in India, is now planning to raise its stake in the more premium compact segment, especially in the SUV category. Sources have confirmed to HT Auto that India's largest carmaker is looking to bring in a new model that would take on the likes of Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, among others in the compact SUV segment.
Maruti already has the S-Cross SUV in the same segment, but its sales numbers have not been competitive enough to trouble segment leaders like Creta or Seltos. Maruti is expected to soon drive in the facelift version of the S-Cross, which recently made its official debut for the global markets. However, Maruti will bet on a new model to go up against other compact SUVs loaded with features.
Maruti is likely to join hands with Toyota Motor, with whom it has a deal to share models in the Indian markets. Maruti's next big announcement could be an SUV jointly developed by the two carmakers. While Toyota has rebadged versions of Maruti Baleno and Brezza in India, Maruti has not yet launched any rebadged Toyota model in the country.
The compact SUV segment provides an opportunity to both carmakers. Toyota, which largely depends on sale of its Fortuner SUV and Innova Crysta MPV in India, does not offer any car in the compact SUV segment that is entirely its own. Toyota may drive in the RAV4, one of its best-selling SUV globally, to try and capture the compact SUV pie dominated by Korean carmakers.
Toyota RAV4 could be the base on which Maruti is likely to develop its new compact SUV. Maruti's Japanese partner Suzuki already has a model called Across in global markets which is largely based on the Toyota RAV4 SUV. Maruti and Toyota are likely to follow the same model and work on a new SUV made for India soon.
While an official announcement is still in waiting, Maruti is unlikely to drive in the new SUV any time before 2023. A lot will also depend on the Covid situation as well as the ongoing supply crisis before Maruti commits a new compact SUV for the Indian markets.