Suzuki indonesia goes for SUV market with XL7

18, Feb. 2020

An Alpha variant of XL7 medium SUV in 'rising orange' color is unveiled at a launch ceremony in Krakatau Grand Ballroom, East Jakarta on Feb. 15, 2020.
An Alpha variant of XL7 medium SUV in 'rising orange' color is unveiled at a launch ceremony in Krakatau Grand Ballroom, East Jakarta on Feb. 15, 2020.

JAKARTA, NNA – PT Suzuki Indomobil Sales (SIS), an Indonesian sales unit of Japanese automaker Suzuki Motor Corp., has rolled out the new Suzuki XL7 medium SUV as it aims for a slice of Indonesia's burgeoning SUV market.

Driven by smart technology and developed on Suzuki's sturdy Heartech platform, the seven-seater version will be sold in Indonesia as well as overseas.

In the global launch on Saturday, Seiji Itayama, president director of SIS, said the three-row XL7 is poised to be a popular product as it has been specially designed to attract Indonesian motorists and promote consumer awareness of the Suzuki brand as it celebrates the 50th anniversary of its presence in Indonesia this year.

Itayama told reporters he is confident the XL7 would enjoy the same success as other Suzuki cars currently available in Indonesia.

The XL7 offers three variants, namely Zeta, Beta and Alpha. The manual models are priced at about 230 million rupiah ($16,800), 246.5 million rupiah and 256.5 million rupiah, while automatic ones cost 240.5 million rupiah, 257 million rupiah and 267 million rupiah, respectively.

Donny Saputra, marketing director of four wheelers of SIS, said the XL7 is powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine just like the smaller Ertiga low multiple purpose vehicle (LMPV).

The XL7 production started in December 2019 at PT Suzuki Indomobil Motor's Cikarang factory in West Java. The plan is to produce 2,000 units a month and capture 20 percent of the domestic SUV segment share in 2020.

The XL7 production is on top of the overall 100,000 units handled by the Cikarang plant currently, Saputra told NNA.

He said the premium Alpha and mid-level Beta models would dominate sales initially as eager car buyers usually go for superior variants during the first six months of a launch.

Saputra noted that the SUV market in Indonesia began to grow in 2017, with Low-Cost Green Car (LCGC), MPV and SUV being the top three sellers for Suzuki. He expects the seven-seater SUV market will rise 2 percent while the total automotive market will go up 5 percent in 2020.

Suzuki believes some Ertiga LMPV owners might be enticed to switch to the XL7 but their numbers are unlikely to be significant.

On the profile of Suzuki buyers, Saputra said men make up 70 percent of LMPV and 48 percent of MSUV users. The 50 percent of MSUV users are mature women aged 35 to 40.

"We have done market research before releasing this product," he told NNA when asked about the likely buyers of XL7.

On the positive factors for the automotive market in 2020, Saputra said the Indonesian economy is expected to grow 5 percent or almost the same as last year, helped by new regulations and government stimulus such as incentives.

However, competition might increase if rivals introduce new cars or variants, he said.

On a brighter note, Suzuki will soon start exporting completely built-up (CBU) units of the XL7 to 30 countries, such as those in surrounding Asia and Latin America. The export target is 12,600 units in 2020, said Saputra.