Lifestyle SUV segment grows with Maruti Jimny
Lifestyle SUVs are a niche segment in India. There are only five models - the Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha (compact), the Jeep Compass and Meridian (mid-range) and the Isuzu V-Cross (top) - and a total of around 60,000 units in 2022 (according to the Association). of Automobile Manufacturers of India). and car manufacturers).These so-called lifestyle SUVs accounted for only about 2% of the 3.5 million passenger car sales in 2022. Of those 60,000 units, Thar accounted for the lion's share with more than 45,000 units, followed by Compass and Meridian. more than 10,000 units sold. But with the launch of the Maruti Suzuki Jimny (expected in March-April), this niche market will grow threefold to more than 150,000 units, automakers and auto industry analysts told the media. Shashank Srivastava, Senior Director, Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki India, told FE that with the launch of the Jimny, the segment will expand significantly and rapidly.
"The target buyer for the Jimny is the lifestyle customer," he said. "More and more buyers who want vehicles that can be driven on any terrain, who want to show their status with special vehicles and who are increasingly looking for places where other cars simply cannot reach. The Jimny meets all such needs. Although there is no structured definition of "lifestyle SUVs", automakers define them as SUVs used for adventure and exploration, fulfilling the need to explore places that other cars simply cannot reach and 4×4 driving ability that can be fully adapted to the buyer's desire to show, and has solid build quality that keeps the wearer comfortable even on rough terrain Srivastava said customers for lifestyle SUVs are between the ages of 26 and 45. emotional connection with your vehicle, and the vehicle is usually an additional purchase for the family.
"At the same time, Jimny is both a first purchase and an additional purchase," he said. "Unlike some other lifestyle SUVs, we offer five doors." Gaurav Vangaal, vice president, light vehicle forecasting at SandP Global Mobility, told FE that if Maruti Suzuki enters a new car segment, it will increase the overall size of the segment. "We've already seen it with the Vitara Brezza," Vangaal said. " 2016. In 2012, the Vitara Brezza was the second sub-4metre SUV to be launched in India (after the 2012 Ford EcoSport). Almost immediately, the sub-4 metre SUV segment entered the market: Honda launched the WR -V and Tata Nexon in 2017, Mahindra XUV300 and Hyundai Venue in 2019, Kia Sonet, Toyota Urban Cruiser and Nissan Magnite in 2020, and Renault Keger. in 2021." He added that the same will happen with the Jimny. "The lifestyle SUV segment, which was around 60,000 units in 2022 (with the Thar as the main player), will expand significantly with the Jimny," Vangaal said. "People trust the Maruti Suzuki brand and it has a wide reach across the country." Som Kapoor, director (consulting) and partner, Future of Mobility, EY India Automotive, told FE that lifestyle SUVs are a very fast-growing segment in India. "With more and more young and urban customers buying cars, I think this segment has huge potential," Kapoor said.
"Then there is a huge customer relationship with lifestyle SUVs, especially those who want to customize their SUV, want connectivity and lots of technology on the dashboard. They also want their vehicle to stand out and like a unique exterior design. Lifestyle SUVs fulfill all such needs. While the Jimny is expected to outsell the Thar in 2023, an auto industry analyst told FE that Mahindra is reconsidering the Thar. "The downside of the Thar is that it's a three-door SUV, and some families tend to stay away from three-door SUVs because it's uncomfortable to get in and out of the second-row seat. The Jimny is a five-door. An SUV that of course caters to the needs of families," he said But Mahindra is expected to come up with the five-door Thar soon. The automaker isn't just giving up its lead.