It has been nearly two years since Indian car buyers saw the Jimny in the flesh at the 2020 Auto Expo, and Maruti Suzuki is still no closer to bringing this small capable off-roader to its showrooms in India. The expectation at the time was that the Jimny would be launched in a couple of years, but in a 5-door avatar.
Speaking about the Jimny to PTI, Shashank Srivastava, who is the Senior Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Maruti Suzuki India, said, “The volumes are less but such vehicles lift the image of an OEM. At the same time, it also helps support many customer aspirations.” He added that various factors like pricing and component supply need to be evaluated before any new product can be launched.
Maruti’s uncertainty regarding the Jimny attracting justifiable sales volumes seems odd when we consider the success of the second-gen Mahindra Thar. It too is a lifestyle SUV with just three doors, and even with its premium pricing it remains quite popular while commanding high waiting periods.
Maruti already exports the three-door Jimny from India. That means it already has an assembly line and part suppliers. However, as we know, Maruti wants to bring the five-door Jimny here. It’s been spied under development but the timeline for its global debut remains unknown.
COVID-19 has also played its part in disrupting plans made before 2020, with supply disruptions making it even more difficult to bring new models to the market. In such times, carmakers have to prioritise, and for Maruti, the Creta-rivalling SUV that they are developing with Toyota takes priority. The compact SUV segment accounts for 18 percent of all the passenger vehicles in India and the S-Cross is not able to keep up with the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. Thus, Maruti wants to bring its real Creta-rival to the market as soon as possible, which could explain why the Jimny has taken a back seat.
We believe the Jimny will arrive in India, in its five-door avatar, but it is still some time away. For now, the country’s largest carmaker has plans for 8 launches, including a new compact SUV and a new Vitara Brezza, in 2022.
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