Maruti Suzuki is well on the road to rolling out its small truck in the sub-1 tonne segment by early 2015. Though the above-1 tonne payload segment is gaining momentum now, Maruti has chosen to enter in the sub-1 tonne segment dominated by Tata Motors and M&M.

When contacted, Maruti’s Chairman R.C. Bhargava said the sub-1 tonne payload category offered huge growth potential both in India and outside the country. The car maker’s proposed mini-truck foray received thumbs up from analysts. They expect Maruti to emerge as a serious contender in the segment (clocks about 14,000 units a month), which serves the last-mile transportation needs. The small truck is presently undergoing tests at the company’s Gurgaon plant, where it will be produced. There is unlikely to be any passenger variant.

“It will reflect Maruti’s core values such as value for money, reliability and quality,” according to a person who has direct knowledge of the subject. The diesel-variant may cost around Rs.4 lakh, while CNG may be priced between Rs.4.5 lakh and Rs.5 lakh. The small truck will be powered by 800cc engine, being jointly developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation and Maruti. Though it is being developed based on Suzuki’s mini-truck Carry, which is being produced in Indonesia, Maruti’s engineers are reported to have completely redesigned it for Indian market.

“Maruti’s strong brand equity in India, established vendor base and track record of achieving competitive cost structure could go in its favour,” said Icra’s Assistant Vice-President, Shamsher Dewan.

“Maruti, with strong distribution network and reliable products, can easily gain share in the two-player market,’’ pointed out Kaushal Maroo and Ronak Sarda, analysts at Emkay Global Securities.

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