Recent media reports have clearly hinted that Maruti will also be getting its own Toyota Innova Hycross rival to the market. But, what exactly will the car offer, why will it be a very important product for Maruti and what could be its pricing? We dive in the details of this product to bring to you a clear picture of the upcoming Maruti Innova rival. Let’s go.
Why does Maruti need a big car?
Maruti has mainly been known for its affordable & reliable hatchbacks in the country. The brand found its forte here and scared away competition with the monthly sales figures that these cars achieved. Maruti’s image as a reliable hatchback-maker strengthened year after year. However, Maruti did not want to limit itself in that space only. The brand had bigger plans for itself, which clearly presented themselves with the launch of the Ertiga, XL6, Ciaz, S-Cross & Vitara Brezza in the country. Maruti went on to dominate the compact SUV & MPV segment with the Brezza & Ertiga/XL6 respectively. The Brezza put the brand back in the SUV game. However, this was not it yet. Maruti had even bigger plans. Maruti wanted to tackle one of the most lucrative SUV spaces in the country; the C-SUV segment. This segment has always been ruled by the Hyundai Creta and taking on this rival was no easy task.
For this, Maruti joined hands with Toyota and brought in the Grand Vitara. The Grand Vitara brings with it All-Wheel-Drive & strong hybrid capabilities, adding a twist to the segment. However, the Grand Vitara plays one more important role for the brand apart from being a Hyundai Creta challenger; it has taken Maruti’s image from just being a hatchback or compact SUV maker to a premium SUV maker. This is exactly what Maruti wanted to happen. However, again, this is not where Maruti wants to stop. The brand wants to take its ‘premium carmaker’ image one step ahead and is planning an even-bigger, even-premium car for India with the Innova rival. This product along with being a premium offering from Maruti in the market will also help in strengthening the brand in the above Rs 20 lakh price category. But why does Maruti need a presence in this price category? Because Maruti, like every other brand, is also working on its first EV, which will be a mid-size electric SUV and is said to fall around the Rs 25 lakh price bracket. Maruti would already want to have a strong presence in that price category to increase the acceptability of a Rs 25 lakh Maruti EV.
Innova rival – How will Maruti do it?
Maruti and Toyota have been partners in the country since quite some time now. They have shared products (mainly Toyota rebadging Maruti’s cars) and have also made products together with equal inputs from both the brands (the latest example being the Maruti Grand Vitara & Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder). As mentioned above, till date, Toyota has mainly rebadged Maruti’s existing products, but this has not been the case for latter. However, Maruti is now said to borrow & rebadge the Toyota Innova Hycross for itself. The upcoming Innova will be a very premium product and will be based on Toyota’s global TNGA platform. With this rebadging, Maruti will gain access to this platform that Toyota uses in most of its modern cars.
Maruti Innova rival – What will be the engine options?
Maruti will now gain access to Toyota’s strong hybrid system once again, but this time, in a 2.0-litre engine which will just be an extension to the current 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder, Atkinson cycle engine but with an added cylinder. So, this 2.0-litre engine will now be a 4-cylinder unit. Also on offer is touted to be a 2.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine. Now what will this engine exactly be? Only time will tell, but we expect this engine to come from Toyota itself due to the added reliability that Innova buyers would expect from the MPV. Maruti could however extend its mild-hybrid technology to this engine in order to improve the fuel-efficiency figures of this unit.
One more thing to note here is that the motor being used for this strong hybrid system could see an increase over the current strong hybrid system (of the Grand Vitara/Urban Cruiser Hyryder). This could be done due to the added weight of the car, plus the bigger engine on offer.
Will it be costlier than Toyota Innova Hycross?
Now that we have established that Maruti will be borrowing a complete product from Toyota, the costs incurred by Maruti will be slightly higher in procuring this product (taking into account Toyota’s profit in this scenario). A quick research helped us understand that in this partnership, cars that are completely made by one particular brand sell at a lower price when compared to the rebadged version of the same car (compare prices of Toyota RAV4 & Suzuki A-Cross in the same country).
In cases where the product has been made in partnership, the pricing will be in favour of the brand that brings the major chunk of the technology to the table. For instance, the All-Wheel-Drive, mild hybrid variants of the Maruti Grand Vitara are priced slightly cheaper than the similar variants of the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder because both, the 1.5-litre petrol engine & the AWD technology are brought in by Maruti Suzuki & Toyota will have to borrow them from the former at an added cost due to Maruti’s profit margin here. Contrary to this, the strong hybrid variants of the Urban Cruiser Hyryder are priced slightly cheaper than the similar variants of the Maruti Grand Vitara since the strong hybrid technology is brought in by Toyota.
Moving forward with the same logic, we establish that Maruti Innova rival will mostly be priced higher than the Toyota Innova Hycross for the similar variants. Now, to keep costs in check & make this big 7-seater more accessible, we expect Maruti to primarily focus on non-strong hybrid variants and limit the number of strong hybrid variants in its lineup. On the other hand, Toyota will mostly focus more on the strong hybrid variants because of its existing base of buyers that expects better technology. We thus expect the base variant of the Maruti Innova rival to be priced lower than the base variant of the Toyota counterpart. We can thus expect the pricing of the Maruti Innova rival to start from somewhere around Rs 21 lakh (on-road, Mumbai).
What do you think of the Maruti Innova rival? Do let us know in the comments.
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