Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. introduced its first compact crossover, joining a race to attract Indians in a fast-growing segment dominated by Ford Motor Co. and Renault SA.
The S-Cross is priced from 834,000 rupees ($13,066) to 1.37 million rupees in New Delhi, Maruti said in a presentation at a press conference in the national capital on Wednesday. The carmaker expects to sell as many as 4,000 units a month of the model that goes on sale from today, Chief Executive Officer Kenichi Ayukawa said.
Maruti last month unveiled a network of showrooms called NEXA as part of new initiatives it’s taking to woo new segments of customers emerging in a market that the carmaker says is changing. The company, which has so far been known for its cheap and fuel efficient vehicles, has set itself a goal to almost double sales in the next five years with plans to add 20 new models including facelifts and more expensive vehicles.
The introduction of S-Cross comes weeks after Hyundai Motor Co. introduced its compact sport utility vehicle Creta, with a starting price of 859,558 rupees. The two models will compete with Renault’s Duster and Ford’s EcoSport in a segment where deliveries increased 5.3 percent, outpacing the 5 percent pace for car sales in the year ended March.
The S-Cross will be the first model to be sold through the NEXA dealerships, and Maruti says its opened 35 NEXA outlets in 23 cities. The S-Cross will feature airbags as standard on all variants.
Rising demand for compact SUVs is attracting the nation’s top two sellers as price-sensitive Indians upgrade from hatchbacks to the relatively bigger, but still fuel-efficient vehicles.