The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has been a game changer for Maruti Suzuki. It has not only provided a much needed boost for Maruti which was facing a sharp decline in small car sales but has also opened up a new segment in the Indian car market. Now the Ertiga is influencing other car makers too. Reports say Tata Motors is conducting extensive testing of the Ertiga in its research facility. Is this in preparation of development of its own Ertiga rival?
Car manufacturers across the globe routinely buy rival car models and run extensive road tests and even strip them down to know more about them. Tata Motors is said to be testing the Ertiga as well as the new Swift DZire. The DZire being tested by Tata Motors is not that surprising considering it has plans to make a compact version of the Manza.
But what is more interesting is the Ertiga. Tata Motors does not have a model that is similar to Maruti's latest model and it is very clear that it wants to have a competing MPV in this segment. The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga has had a great run in the market since its launch a couple of months ago. It hit the top three best selling MPVs in India on the first month of its launch itself.
Based on the Swift's platform, the Ertiga is available with both petrol and diesel engine options. Maruti hit the jackpot by designing a small yet spacious car that can carry seven people in comfort. The Ertiga has emerged as a cheaper alternative to big Indian families who like to travel in groups.
Considering the Ertiga's current success, no wonder any other carmaker wants to have a model that is similar. The MPV segment in India which once had only a handful of models is set for a huge expansion if all carmakers decide to have an Ertiga rival. It is highly unlikely that these Ertiga rivals will hit the roads in the coming months as a product development cycle from idea to production version takes a minimum of five years.
If we can classify the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga as a small MPV, then it currently does not have any new rivals in its segment. However, there are at least two new MPVs set for launch in India. Nissan will soon the Evalia while Chevrolet is preparing for the launch of the Enjoy.
Tata Motors currently sells the Aria MPV which is aimed at the Toyota Innova. Although it has impressed people wo have owned it, it has not been able to create an impact which Tata Motors was hoping for. If Tata Motors does build a smaller MPV, then it can hope to wrest back some sales from the Ertiga.