Suzuki Motor launches entry-level S-Presso mini SUV in India for younger generation
NEW DELHI, NNA - India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., has launched a mini-SUV S-Presso at lower prices than potential rivals, hoping to attract the younger generation who have found it difficult to afford new cars.
The S-Presso, characterized by its high ground clearance and distinct appearance of a sport utility vehicle, was unveiled in New Delhi on Monday, with its prices ranging from 369,000 to 491,000 rupees ($5,200-6,900).
Maruti Suzuki, a subsidiary of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp., aims to revive enthusiasm among car-buying customers by marketing the new SUV toward India’s festive season from October to December when consumption picks up in the country, where new car sales have declined year on year for 10 straight months up to August.
The S-Presso, developed with an investment of 6.4 billion rupees, is fitted with a 1.0-liter “K10” engine that is compliant with the Bharat Stage 6 emission standard to be enforced in India next April. Its fuel efficiency is about 21.4 kilometers per liter.
S-Presso SUVs are manufactured at a plant in Manesar in the northern state of Haryana near New Delhi, with 98 percent of components locally procured. They will be exported to Africa, Central and South America, Southeast Asia and other regions starting in November, according to Shashank Srivastava, Maruti Suzuki’s executive director for marketing and sales.
“We want to stimulate the market by introducing a brand new model immediately before the festive season,” Maruti Suzuki India Managing Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said at the presentation event.
Compact but bold as an SUV
The S-Presso is equipped with Suzuki’s fifth generation “HEARTECT” platform to lighten its weight and enhance its rigidity. It measures 3,565 mm in length, 1,520 mm in width and 1,549-1,564 mm in height. It may be compact but features a bold structure with its square front grille and solid front bumper giving a full SUV look, a Maruti Suzuki press release says.
The S-Presso is categorized into the mini segment but “as a mini-SUV, it has no competition in the market,” a Maruti Suzuki official said.
CEO Ayukawa said his company has introduced into the mini segment “a new car that has sought out what customers want.” He declined to comment on the sales target but said, “We are convinced that its high design quality and affordable pricing will attract the ever-evolving younger customers.”
Turnaround anticipated from October
New car sales continue to struggle in India. CEO Ayukawa said it is difficult to predict a market recovery in the current fiscal year but added, “We are hoping that positive figures start coming out in October.”
He thanked the Indian government for its “efforts to revitalize the automobile market” although its latest economic stimulus package did not include a goods and services tax (GST) cut. “For our part, we need to stimulate demand by marketing new models.”
In India, automakers start launching new models in October every year when consumption picks up at the start of the festive season. South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. is due to start selling its new “Elantra” sedan on Thursday.