Keen on changing its image as a small car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL) on Friday announced the global launch of its compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) Ertiga (which means three rows in Indonesian) at the ongoing Auto Expo. To be made available by March, the new vehicle will come with new 1.4 litre K-series petrol engine, giving a mileage of 16.02 km a litre, while the 1.3-litre diesel variants will give fuel economy of 20.77 km a litre.

“The new vehicle reflects our preparedness for the future competitive scenario. As India gears to be among the largest global automobile markets by 2020, with the foray into the utility vehicle segment, we will strengthen our leadership position in the industry.

“With Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki will step into the the utility vehicle segment and effectively create a new compact three-row MPV segment in India,” MSIL Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi told journalists here.

Talking about the new vehicle, Mr. Nakanishi said Ertiga had been built on the central theme of ‘togetherness' that provided an interesting mobility solution for young Indians. It was loaded with safety features, premium interiors and a host of new utility features twin AC, multi-information display and electrically adjustable mirror.

Stating the price of the new vehicle will be announced just before the commence of its deliveries, Mr. Nakanishi said for the first time they were using the next generation K-series petrol engine in Ertiga and that the car would be manufactured at their Gurgaon plant. At present, utility vehicles (UV) account for around 14 per cent of the Indian automobile industry, a 66 per cent (two thirds) of these are MPV, the segment where Ertiga is positioned.