Will Maruti Drop The Vitara Moniker With The New Brezza?
It might be time for the segment dominating sub-4m SUV to own its unique identity in the Maruti Suzuki line-up
Update(30/06/2022): Maruti has launched the new Brezza in India, starting from Rs 7.99 lakh.
The new generation model of the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza has been spied without camouflage multiple times as we near its June 30 launch. One of the various changes on the model include the badging on the tailgate (between the taillamps) which now reads Brezza in chrome letters. Since the outgoing model featured the full name – Vitara Brezza – in chrome, we believe Maruti has decided to drop the first half of the name of its sub-4-metre SUV.
History of the Vitara name in India
In the global line-up of Suzuki models, there was an SUV introduced in some international markets in the late 1990s that was called the Grand Vitara. In its five-door avatar, it was a fairly premium offering in India with its proportions and multi-litre displacement engine.
The next-generation Grand Vitara arrived here in around 2009 and fared slightly better thanks to the new looks and more powerful engine. Most distinctively, it had a full-time 4WD system which made it popular with off-roading enthusiasts. It was a common competitor in various rally motorsports in the country with many wins to its name. To date, the Vitara moniker is closely associated with the original Grand Vitara.
The current generation Vitara
While the same Suzuki SUV is still called the Escudo in Japan, it is known in some countries as the Vitara. The SUV is now in its fourth generation and the facelifted version debuted at the 2018 Paris motor show. It's still a relatively premium offering with conventional SUV styling cues and most importantly, it comes with Suzuki’s Allgrip four-wheel-drive system.
While the interior seems dated in comparison to similarly-sized SUVs, the Vitara still packs a fair bit of modern technology. Its cabin comforts include a panoramic sunroof, a 4.2-inch coloured LCD in the gauge cluster and a touchscreen infotainment system. The UK-spec Vitara also comes with ADAS. Under the hood, it now comes with Suzuki’s latest strong hybrid powertrain that is expected to arrive in India as well.
Why change the Vitara Brezza name now?
When Maruti Suzuki entered the sub-4-metre SUV segment in India, the brand was not established as a maker of SUVs. The S-Cross was its only crossover here at the time and it had not been a commercial success. So, when the company developed this India-centric SUV, it connected it to Suzuki’s successful lineage by calling it the Vitara Brezza.
Since its market debut in 2016, the Vitara Brezza has gone on to become the dominant name in the subcompact SUV segment. Now that the model and its name has been well-established, it no longer needs the Vitara prefix for customer recognition.
Even in casual conversation, the model is often referred to as just the Brezza. With these factors at play, it makes sense for Maruti to free up the Vitara name and let the subcompact offering live on its own identity as the Brezza.
The Vitara name could return sooner than later
If Maruti does indeed update the name of the 2022 sub-4-metre SUV to the Brezza, the Vitara moniker will be absent from the Indian line-up, but not for long. The carmaker is set to introduce an all-new compact SUV offering to rival the likes of the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. While not much has been said about it officially, we have spotted its development mules multiple times.
It would be fitting if the new SUV were to be called the Maruti Suzuki Vitara or the Grand Vitara, as it seems to be a premium offering. It will get a hybrid powertrain and features like a head-up display, 360-degree camera and a large touchscreen infotainment system. The upcoming Maruti SUV will also have a Toyota equivalent called the Hyryder.
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