Carmaker’s disclosure brings into question the future of the other six products in the company's line-up that don't meet the new norms.
Maruti Suzuki has disclosed that nine of its 15-model-strong passenger car line-up meet India’s latest crash test norms. The new norms for full-frontal impact, off-set-frontal impact and side impact have been in force on all cars launched in India since October 1, 2017will extend to all cars on sale in the country from October 1, 2019. Additionally, as of October 1, 2018, the new pedestrian protection norms will be enforced on all new launches and after October 1, 2020, these norms will go on to cover all cars on sale in the market.
Maruti Suzuki has made public that the S-Cross, Ciaz, Ertiga, Vitara Brezza, Baleno, Dzire, Swift, Ignis and Celerio models already meet the future frontal, off-set-frontal, side impact and pedestrian crash norms. Of these models, the Ciaz is due for a refresh while an all-new Ertiga is headed to India later this year.
As for the other models, the carmaker has stated that ‘the rest of the models will be compliant to the crash norms ahead of the regulatory timelines.’ Given that the next-gen WagonR is in the works and replacements for the Alto K10 and Alto 800 are also in development, Maruti’s disclosure puts a question mark on the future of the remaining three models – namely the Omni, Eeco and Gypsy. These models will likely require substantial re-engineering to be made crash-test-compliant, so the incoming crash test norms could just as likely be the end of the road for these models in their current form.
Little is known of replacements for the Omni and Eeco as yet but Maruti is unlikely to vacate the high volumes segment; the Omni sold 80,583 units in the last fiscal year while the Eeco raked-up sales of 74,554 units in the same period.
Globally, Suzuki has revealed the new-gen Jimny which would make for a new-age (and crash norms-ready) replacement for the long-standing Gypsy, though Maruti has not (yet) confirmed any plans of manufacturing this car in India.
Interestingly, Maruti Suzuki has a full-fledged crash test facility at its state-of-the-art R&D and validation facility in Rohtak, Haryana. In the past, the carmaker had revealed that it conducts 35-40 crash tests for every new model in development.