Maruti aims to sell upto 5,000 units of S-Cross every month

MUMBAI: Car major Maruti Suzuki, which looks to claw at the dominance of SUV leaders Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport, expects to sell 4,000-5000 units of its maiden crossover SUV, the S-Cross, every month.

"We have set an internal target of selling 4,000 to 5,000 units of S-Cross a month, and capacity can be ramped up or down depending on demand," Executive Director and Head of Marketing and Sales, T Hashimoto said here after launching the S-Cross today, priced at Rs 8.8 lakh to Rs 14.5 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai.

The all diesel S-Cross comes in seven variants - four in the 1.2 litre DDiS 200 model and three models in the upper class 1.6 litre DDiS 320 model.

The company said it has no plans to roll out a petrol variant nor an automatic transmission model.

Maruti also ruled out exporting this model. When asked about plans, Executive Director and Head of Sales and Marketing, R S Kalsi told PTI that the company has no plans to export this unit as the crossover SUV has undergone a lot of India-specific changes.

It can be noted that SUVs have been one of the most successfully selling models in the country for quite some time. Industry consultant IHS Automotive predicts that SUV sales may sniff at 1-million mark by 2020 in the country, which is almost double 5,50,000 units sales it expects this year.

Maruti enjoys 45 per cent market share in the domestic car market but the No 2 is way below and the No 3 is further down the line.

The compact SUV segment has been dominated by Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport, while the larger SUV space is dominated by Fortuner and Land Cruiser from Toyota and Scorpio and XUV500 from the domestic player Mahindra and the just launched Creta from Hyundai.

Against this, the rivals have better pricing. While the popular Duster is priced at Rs 9.12 lakh, the Hyundai Creta is priced at Rs 12.49 lakh in Delhi for comparable engine variants.

Asked whether the car is not priced in the upper end vis-a-vis the competition, he answered in the negative and in fact claimed that this is a "very value for money pricing."

He also said that the company has received over 36,000 pre-launch bookings for the car, but said this has only notional value as final purchase decision depends on the test-drives and the price.

Maruti has set a target of nearly doubling its annual sales to 2 million vehicles by 2020, when analysts expect the market to become the world's third-largest after China and the US with sales of over 5 million vehicles.

Kalsi expressed optimism that the company will be able to beat the market with higher sales than the industry's 6-7 per cent annual growth this year.

"We are taking various initiatives to achieve this goal of selling 2 million cars by 2020. An important initiative is launching new cars and entering new segments," Managing Director Kenichi Ayukawa told reporters yesterday in the capital.

The company had launched its maiden premium sedan Ciaz last October and Kalsi told PTI that it has already sold over 20,000 units since.

When asked about the souped up Alto K10 and the revamped 800, Kalsi said these models also together gross up to 20,000 units a month.

On its premium dealerships Nexa, where the S-Cross will be sold exclusively, Kalsi said the company will ensure that the dealers won't be hit and will increase the premium models for them.

Kalsi further said that the company will have 100 Nexa showrooms by March, spanning 30 cities, from where it hopes to net 80 per cent of the S-Cross sales.

Already, it has opened 35 Nexa dealerships.

The company has invested over Rs 600 crore towards developing the S-Cross over a period of four years.

Asked by when does the company expects to break-even with the S-Cross, Kalsi parried a direct answer.

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