A brand that needs no introduction, Maruti Suzuki, has achieved yet another milestone, by securing a 51% share in the Indian automotive market. But wait, have we landed in the GoMechanic Auto News? No, it was just a news worth sharing. So, getting back to the topic, Maruti Suzuki has been dominating almost all the segments, be it hatchbacks or sedans. One such segment is the MPV segment. So let’s get on the memory train and visit the course of MPVs that have been launched by Maruti Suzuki in India.
1984: Maruti Suzuki launches the Omni
Just one year after the successful launch of the 800, Maruti Suzuki launched the Omni. Initially, it was called the Maruti Van. It has been popularly known as the “Kid Kidnapping Van” from the 90s. Jokes apart, the versatile nature of this vehicle led to complete dominance over the segment, so much so, that no one was able to take over the lead in its whole career.
Nearly after a decade, the ‘Omni got a facelift which was just cosmetic changes in the year 1998. Couple for more facelifts arrived before the Omni got discontinued.
When launched, the Maruti Van was powered by a 796cc engine. The motor produced about 38bhp and 62Nm of peak torque. The Van came with a 4-speed manual transmission. Since then the Van/Omni never got an engine change.
Want to know more? Maruti Omni | An Ode to a Versatile Van
2001: Versa, a premium MPV was launched!
Versa-tile! That is what Versa was. Maruti Suzuki decided to upgrade the MPV segment and added the Versa to its lineup. To make sure that the nation knows about it, Amitabh Bachan was chosen to endorse the Versatile MPV. It was premium for sure. And we Indians don’t expect a premium from Maruti, might not be completely true now (Check the sales figures for Ciaz and Baleno). It was discontinued by 2009. Do note that Omni was still running great on the roads.
2010: Not letting go of the segment: the Eeco is launched!
India’s largest manufacturer was not going to let go of the hold of the MPV market, it made with the Omni. So the Eeco was launched. Since then, Eeco has remained at the top of the segment. We can safely say that it is a stripped-down version of the Versa.
The first generation of Eeco had lesser safety features, a simpler design and a 1.2-litre petrol engine capable of producing 73hp of power and a peak torque of 101Nm.
Since then, there has been no major change, the company has made to the Eeco. And why would it? The Eeco has been in the top 5 selling cars in India from a very long time now. It is widely used in the taxi segment, courier business and cargo carrier. It is also used as an ambulance. due to simple interiors, it is easy to modify the Eeco to meet the requirements. The car’s multi utilisation abilities have made it a commercially viable option for various businesses in India.
Note (NOT-Exactly): Not many of you may know that the Maruti Suzuki’s Eeco is a rear-wheel-drive car. But still, it is not possible to drift using the MPV.
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2012: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga
All the vehicles mentioned above lacked on thing, the looks. The looks that could indulge bigger masses, a design that the families would be able to flaunt. And this is when the Ertiga came into existence. People before 2012 had a choice of either the Toyota Innova or nothing, when it came to a big family car. Ertiga came in at unbelievable prices and took the market by storm. In the past 8 years, Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has clocked over 5.5 lakh units in terms of sales which has helped the company to increase its share in the MPV segment from 25.3% to 50.3%. Now, that’s a massive leap for sure.
2019: Maruti Suzuki XL6: A Premium Ertiga
The platform is same, the engine is same and the looks, well, they are not the same. Maruti Suzuki, through its NEXA platform, introduced an extra-premium MPV, the XL6. If you seek premium feels with bolder looks and are ready to spend more, NEXA’s XL6 is a great MPV for sure.
Want to know the complete difference? Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Vs Nexa XL6 | Arena vs NEXA
So, this has been the course of MPVs Maruti Suzuki has followed since it’s inception. This company surely knows how to get a hold of the Indian market. What do you think? Do let us know in the comments section below.