The Vitara Brezza is going to be a major milestone for Maruti Suzuki, as the locally developed vehicle will be sold abroad as well, showcasing the technological capabilities of the nation’s top car maker.
The compact SUV is the first vehicle to be conceived, designed, developed and validated in India by Maruti. It will be unveiled at next month’s Auto Expo in Greater Noida.
“Vitara Brezza was given as a challenge to the Indian R&D team,” Executive Director for Engineering CV Raman said. “It is engineered for global markets, and will be exported to related markets in South Asia.”
An R&D team led by Raman started work on the Vitara Brezza in 2012. The project was completed over a period of three and a half years. The company has so far depended on Suzuki Motor Corp (SMC) for the development of products.
It is now developing a vehicle completely on its own is significant also as it not only reflects the maturity of Maruti Suzuki’s R&D capabilities, but the growing importance of it in the Japanese parent’s global operations as well.
“Historically, we have contributed to vehicle development processes at Suzuki. But this is the first time that all decisions and judgements during the development of the product were taken in-house at Maruti. Suzuki did not participate… It was a tremendous learning experience and has enhanced significantly our capability and our role in global product development in SMC,” Raman said.
Globally, Suzuki is committed to bring in 20 new models by 2020. At least 15 of these (excluding refreshed and upgraded versions of existing models) are expected to be in India. SMC and Maruti complementing each other’s capabilities in R&D will help step up pace of product launches.
According to the plans, Maruti would design and develop on Suzuki platforms and engines products specific to India and related markets. The Vitara Brezza has also been developed on an SMC platform.
In India, Maruti has a target to sell two million vehicles by the end of the decade. Its R&D centre at Rohtak in Haryana will play a crucial role in fast-tracking model development, testing and validation.
“Brezza is an important milestone (in developing R&D capability). For the first time, except for two tests (the long-term endurance rust test and the wind-tunnel test – facilities for which are not available in India), the entire validation and testing were done utilising the crash lab and the tracks at Rohtak. It will help us introduce products and upgrades at a faster pace in the Indian market,” Raman said.
Maruti started developing in-house engineering capability with facelift of models like the Zen, Alto, WagonR and the Omni with support of the parent in 2000.
Three years on, it started training its engineers at Suzuki’s headquarters in Japan and initiated co-design work with SMC for the design and development of the Swift hatchback for global markets.
In 2008, Maruti started working on a full model change for the top seller Alto. The vehicle was launched in India in 2012. In 2010, the company started working with SMC on global models like the Baleno premium hatchback, Ciaz mid-size sedan and the S Cross cross-over utility vehicle, which were recently launched in India.
The company started work on the Vitara Brezza as the first model to be designed and developed with Maruti as the lead for development, in parallel with other global model development work plan with SMC in 2012.