The Hottest New Launches Lined Up In The Year Of SUVs
At least a dozen cars are expected to be launched this year in India—a majority of them sport utility vehicles—as automakers cash in on increased demand for roomier vehicles with higher clearance.
Sale of SUVs, according to data provided by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, has grown in double digits over the last three months. Several such family-sized vehicles were launched in India over the last few months, including Kia Sonet, Creta Facelift, Mahindra Thar, Nissan Magnite, Renault Kiger and Tata Safari. Demand is so high that waiting periods start from four months to up to a year.
“SUVs and crossovers are now an aspirational vehicle, and people want that body style,” Gaurav Vangaal, associate director at IHS Markit, told BloombergQuint. “Factors such as road presence and driveability are increasingly making them a vehicle of choice for Indian customers, and automakers don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.”
Vinkesh Gulati, president of Federation of Automobile Dealership Association, expects this year to be a launch year for most automakers, “with a caution of semiconductor issue, because it could delay the process for a few”.
Here’s a list of upcoming car launches:
Price Range: Rs 14-20 lakh.
What’s Different: The seven-seater SUV by Hyundai, named Alcazar—meaning castle in Spanish—will debut globally on April 6 and launch in India a few months later.
Based on the Creta platform, the Alcazar will come in six- and seven-seater variants, and will go up against the newly launched Tata Safari, MG Hector Plus and Mahindra XUV 500. The car will also come with driver assistance features like forward collision assist, automatic emergency braking while reversing.
“Alcazar will do very good as there is opportunity in the seven-seater segment and it also gives an option to Creta owners to upgrade, and there was a gap in Hyundai’s portfolio,” Vangaal of IHS Markit said.
Hyundai has promoted the design of the upcoming SUV but is yet to comment on the launch timing.
Type: Micro SUV
Price Range: Rs 4.5 -7.5 Lakh
What’s Different: The first compact SUV from Tata Motors, the Hornbill will also be the smallest SUV in its portfolio. First showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo, the vehicle will draw cues from the larger-sized Harrier. The vehicle is set to compete with Maruti Suzuki’s S-Presso, Ignis and Mahindra’s KUV 100 NXT.
“Unless Tata comes with an aggressive pricing strategy, it might fall short of the kind of expectations they have from the vehicle,” Vangaal said.
Tata did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Price Range: Rs 9-17 Lakh
What’s Different: With the Kushaq, Skoda will enter the highly competitive mid-sized SUV segment in India, and is part of the company’s 2.0 product campaign. The car will go against the likes of Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Tata Harrier, and Maruti Suzuki’s Brezza.
“Kushaq has the potential to disrupt the space if the pricing is right,” Gulati said. “Skoda already has a good name in the premium space, because of Octavia and Superb, and as per the features in Kushaq it’s going to be one of the best in the segment.”
Skoda has confirmed the car will be launched this year.
Price Range: around Rs 14 lakh.
What’s Different: Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. is going to launch the second generation of its popular SUV, the XUV500, code-named W601, nearly nine years after the first launched. M&M will use the newly developed monocoque platform in the new SUV, which will be wider and have a longer wheelbase. The vehicle will also feature an electronic parking brake, hill hold (for the automatic variant) and drive modes. That pits it against Kia Seltos, Tata Safari, the upcoming seven-seat Creta, and the MG Hector Plus.
Mahindra in an email to BloombergQuint, said the W601 is expected to be launched in the first half of FY22.
Hormazd Sorabjee, editor at Autocar India, said the new generation XUV500 could be the real dark horse for Mahindra. “It will be big launch for Mahindra, and is the SUV I’m really excited about.”
Price Range: Rs 10 lakh
What’s different: The VW’s Taigun will be the smallest SUV from the company’s India stable and is the first offering under its India 2.0 strategy. The product, showcased last year at the Auto Expo 2020, will come with a 1-litre turbo engine and a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine. The product, expected to be launched before Diwali, will take on Creta, Seltos, Mg Hector, Nissan Kicks and the upcoming Kushaq.
Citroen C5 Aircross
Price Range: around Rs 30 Lakh
What’s Different: Citroen C5 Aircross is the French automobile major’s debut in the India market. The SUV will be positioned against Hyundai Tucson and the Jeep Compass. Manufactured at its Tamil Nadu facility, the vehicle is expected to be launched on April 7.
Citroen C21 (codenamed)
Type: Compact SUV.
Price Range: Rs 30 lakh.
What’s Different: While Citroen C5 Aircross will target the premium SUV space, the French carmaker also plans to launch a compact SUV, codenamed C21, towards the year-end, in a petrol-only model. The C21 will join the highly competitive sub-4m SUV segment and will go against the likes of Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Ford Ecosport, Nissan Magnite, Toyota Urban Cruiser, Renault Kiger and Mahindra XUV300.
Citroen did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Jeep H6 (codenamed)
Price Range- Rs 32-40 Lakh
What’s Different: This is going to be the seven-seater version of the Jeep Compass, and the company’s first three-row SUV. The H6 will share the same monocoque platform, but will be longer, wider and taller than the Compass. The car will rival the likes of Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and Skoda Kodiaq, and may be launched towards the year-end.
Jeep did not respond to email seeking comment.
Price Range: Rs 32-40 Lakh
What’s Different: The vehicle is part of a new generation of its smallest SUVs, debuted at the Auto Expo. The GLA is expected to come with 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines.
Mercedes-Benz did not respond to email seeking comment.
Price Range: Rs 4-6 lakh.
What’s Different: Maruti Suzuki India is expected to launch the second generation version of its popular Celerio in three months. The new generation hatchback is expected to be more spacious than its predecessors, with a new design. The car will also have new features like the SmartPlay Studio touchscreen infotainment system on premium variants.
Maruti Suzuki Jimny
Type: Off-roader SUV
Price Range: Rs 7-11 lakh
What’s Different: Maruti Suzuki, that started to export the off-roader earlier this year, is expected to launch it in the home market towards year-end. The entry-level three-door, off-roader’s new version was last displayed at the Auto Expo last year. The Jimny comes with a semi-digital instrument cluster, a seven-inch touchscreen system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic AC, cruise control, among others, and a four-wheel drive system.
Vangaal, however, doesn’t expect higher volumes from the three-door version on account of higher pricing.
Maruti Suzuki did not respond to an email seeking comment.
MG ZS Petrol
Price Range: Rs 10-15 Lakh
What’s Different: The electric variant of MG ZS is now going to get a petrol powered version for its India launch and a new name, Astor. The MG ZS will get a reworked front look, and a new front grille and bumper. It will sport a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system and will go up against the likes of Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier, Kia Seltos, and the newly launched Skoda Kushaq.
MG did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Price Range: Rs 1 Crore.
What’s different: The German carmaker is set to bring its electric SUV, E-tron, to India in the next three months. The vehicle has a 95kWh battery pack that provides a range of over 400km, and will go against Jaguar I Pace, and Mercedes EQC.
Audi did not respond to an email seeking comment.