Maruti Suzuki evaluating the Jimny 4x4 for India, confirms MSIL’s Shashank Srivastava

The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is evaluating the feasibility of launching its off-roader Jimny in the domestic market, having started exporting the model from India last month, according to company officials. The company, which commenced exports of the Jimny to Latin American countries such as Colombia and Peru in January, however, is not exporting it to Europe due to frequent changes in regulations in the continent.

"We are currently evaluating whether the feasibility of it being launched in the domestic market. As you may recall, we had shown this Jimny at the Auto Expo in February 2020, and we got some really nice response. And we are currently studying the various aspects of the marketing as to when, if at all, we can launch that vehicle in India," MSI Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava said in an investor call.

He was responding to a query on when the Jimny could be launched in India. The three-door, four-wheel drive, all-terrain vehicle, Jimny is being exported to Latin America, the Middle East and African markets from India as the company's parent Suzuki Motor Corporation looks to make the country a global production hub for the model.

The Jimny is being exported to Latin America, Middle East and African markets from India. Image: Maruti Suzuki

The company had stated that there is a large customer demand worldwide, well beyond Suzuki Japan’s capacity for this model, and Indian manufacturing will supplement capacity to meet this global demand.

When asked about the potential volumes of Jimny in the export markets, MSI Executive Vice-President Corporate and Government Affairs Rahul Bharti said the company has just started the export of Jimny, and it needs to go further into time to understand how the business is and what kind of volumes it is able to get.

As of now, he said, "It is a small addition to our exports. And in our overall volume, the fraction would be even smaller. So how much it impacts I think we still need to take some time and understand. But overall, in terms of volume percentages, it is not very high."

Asked if MSI is looking to export the Jimny to Europe, Bharti said, "As of now we have started in some markets, Europe has a lot of regulations, and almost every export to Europe keeps stopping every about four or five years because of some new non-tariff barriers or some new technical regulation that they bring in. So as of now, Maruti is not exporting to Europe. So, we will see as it goes along."

Under the hood of the Jimny is Suzuki’s K15B 1.5-litre petrol engine – the same unit that powers the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza facelift, Ertiga, XL6 and Ciaz in India. A 5-speed manual and 4-speed torque convertor automatic are available overseas.

On the safety front, the Jimny gets six airbags, ISOFIX child-seat mounts, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a seat-belt reminder and a lane-assist system, and it has previously been awarded a 3-star crash test rating by Euro NCAP.

It’s true that the Jimny’s India prospects are now looking brighter than ever, with Maruti Suzuki seriously contemplating the launch of the off-roader in our market. While there is still no confirmation, it seems increasingly likely that the Jimny will go on sale in India at some point in the future. What remains to be seen is if it will be introduced in its current three-door form, or as a tailored-for-India five-door model.

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