Live Mint has revealed that Maruti is planning a rival for the Toyota Innova in the second half of 2016 or early 2017.
Codenamed 'RX', the premium three-row MPV would be positioned above the Ertiga for joint families which love to travel together. Even though 7/10 cars sold in India today are from the compact segments, the utility vehicle category has grown by over 50% last year and is expected to account for 11% of the 6-million unit auto market in 2020.
According to an internal document acquired by Live Mint, Mr. CV Raman, executive officer of Maruti Suzuki would be promoted as the chief engineer of this project.
The specifics of the project were not revealed to component suppliers, but suppliers are in the know about the new multi utility vehicle. One vendor tells Live Mint that the details are largely in the discussion stage, and that the management approved the project in January. It usually takes four years for a car to go from a blank sheet of paper to a production-ready article.
A company insider reveals to the newspaper that the vehicle's design is under debate. Maruti is still deciding whether to go with a complete utility vehicle look or design a crossover like the Tata Aria.
Maruti currently lacks the powertrains to go with a C+ segment MPV, but work on in-house diesel engines are under development at the moment. One of the home-made diesel motors is a 1.6-liter engine conceived for medium and large size crossovers like the RX.