Ertiga to be Maruti's first India-oriented car made from the scratch

Wednesday 11 April 2012, 10:21 AM by

After maintaining a strong grip over the position of the country's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki is all set to step into the compact Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) segment of the Indian auto industry. The company is set to introduce its Ertiga in the country, which has been designed in Japan but made specifically for India. The design of the car as well as the advancements and technologies have been selected by Suzuki engineers keeping in mind the requirements of domestic buyers.

The company’s former top sellers include Maruti 800, Alto, Swift, WagonR and Ritz, which had been established names in the international auto market that were altered to suit the interests of Indian buyers. However, the company has designed the car from the Indian perspective rather that altering it for the market this time. T Hibi, Chief Engineer, Ertiga programme, said the car will be “mainly marketed in India.”

On April 07, 2012, Maruti Suzuki will internationally host the global showcasing of this car in India. Ertiga will not be introduced in the auto market of Japan, though it will be exported to a few ASEAN markets, such as Indonesia, with variations that will make it suitable for the local market. Mayank Pareek, Managing Executive Officer, Maruti Suzuki, said, “Ertiga is a global product from Suzuki, but it is designed primarily for India, though it will be sold in other ASEAN countries later.”

Ertiga is based on the platform of Swift and will have a made-for-India design, which will be at the centre of the company's marketing strategies while promoting it in the domestic market. Pareek further said, “Indian families, their members and their lifestyle as also their physical built have been key factors in the final design of the Ertiga for India.”

As far as technical specifications of Ertiga are concerned, the company will introduce petrol and diesel versions of this car. The diesel edition holds a 1.3 litre engine, whereas the petrol variant is assimilated with a 1.4 litre K series engine. Along with impressive emissions, these engines also deliver decent mileages. The petrol variant of Ertiga delivers fuel economy of 16.02 kmpl, whereas the diesel version covers a distance of 20.7 kmpl.

With the launch of this car, the company aims to acquire a major share of Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV) as well as entry level sedans in the Indian market. The designing of Ertiga depicts that the car is more focussed towards being compact than a regular MPV. Owing to these features, the company is promoting this car as a 'Life Utility Vehicle' or LUV.

Speaking about its pricing, Pareek said, “A family sedan today starts above Rs. 5 lacs and the MPVs that are available start somewhere around Rs. 10 lacs. The Ertiga will be highly competitively priced and the price will have an impact on the creation of a new category in the car market.”

The designing of Ertiga commenced in mid 2008, when Suzuki’s team started considering the physical attributes demanded by a typical Indian buyer. Due to this, the engineers ensured that the car has ample space inside the cabin. On this, Hibi said, “When we were making the packaging concept for Ertiga, the difference in human body proportion between Japanese and Indian people became one of the concerns. Even though, we Japanese engineers evaluated that the leg space was good enough, there was some negative opinions raised by Indian engineers, since there was a non-negligible difference in leg length, even with the same height.”

Due to this issue, the Japanese team consulted around 30 Indian engineers at the company’s headquarters based in Japan before finalising the seating arrangement of the car. As a result, they made several prominent modifications in the seating plan of Ertiga, as per the feedback received from the Indian engineers.