Maruti Suzuki has unveiled its RIII Concept at the Auto Expo. After closely watching the success of the Toyota Innova, Maruti plans to launch an MPV in India but in a segment below the Innova.
The RIII concept is a compact MPV with good packaging of three rows of seats. Built on a stretched SX4 platform, the production version of the RIII is expected to be built on a monocoque and hence will be more car-like in its driving characteristics than a typical body-on-frame design.
Maruti Suzuki will strengthen their K-series engine initiative and the RIII will be powered via the same K-series motor. Engine displacements are likely to vary between 1.2 to 1.4 litres.
A diesel engine option is a must and it’s likely that the popular Fiat 1.3-litre Multijet will be employed for the RIII. The MPV can also come equipped with Maruti’s latest CNG technology that the company is developing for its new generation cars. “The company will introduce their latest CNG technology in a few months time,” said Shinzo Nakanishi, MD & CEO, Maruti Suzuki India.
However, VW’s recent buy out of a 20 percent stake in Suzuki raises the possibility of engines from the German carmaker finding their way under the R III’s hood.
The RIII is currently only in the concept stage and it would take another 18-24 months to make it a showroom reality, once the green light for production is given. The RIII is also part of Maruti’s strategy to explore more profitable segments of the market and lessen its reliance on the small car sector where it is totally dominant.