Maruti Suzuki Fronx Stands Out With Its Modern SUV Design, Says CV Raman
The arrival of a new car is always big news, but it's bigger news when it's a Maruti Suzuki. At the Auto Expo 2023, we saw two big reveals from the company. The Maruti Suzuki Jimny, of course, is the much-anticipated car. But there was another car that caught our attention. We are of course talking about the new Maruti Suzuki Fronx and we've got Mr CV Raman, Chief Technology Officer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, with us as we explore the new design language that sets it apart from the rest.
The Story Behind The Name Fronx
Raman san: The name Fronx is derived from the tagline ‘FRONtier NeXt’. As we wanted to push the boundary as far as the design is concerned for our new SUV language, and so, from that perspective, it was found that because we are pushing that, that’s where Fronx has been derived from.
What Makes The Fronx Different From Other Cars?
Raman san: The key point was that for a package on the Heartect platform, we had to create an all-new SUV. And traditionally we have different types of SUVs determined by what they are determined by a high hood line, as well as the front & rear fascia being more upright. So, I think that stance is very important for an SUV. Therefore, the angle of inclination on the A-pillar and on the backdoor glass gives a different type of shape to the vehicle. Traditionally, if you see cars like the Brezza, the angle of inclination is towards the outside while the Grand Vitara is a little towards the inside. And here we have tried to move it a little bit, you know more about the A-pillar incline, but the rear glass is totally more inclined.
So, it gives a kind of cab-forward design. So, this is something which is new, and to assess it, we had to go through various stages of doing a check on a proportion model, and then doing scale models, much before we went into the actual design of the vehicle. We wanted to establish this shape, a new shape of SUVs. And so, I think that was the design brief, which was given to our designers. And this is something which you don't see on Indian roads.
Where Is The Fronx Positioned In The Company’s SUV Line-Up?
Raman san: Well, we want to regain our leadership in the market. And when I say regain increase our share from current 43-44 per cent to our stated 50 per cent objective. And we've seen that the SUV segment is where our gap is, and we need to increase our share. And so, we already launched two new SUVs last year including the Maruti Suzuki XL6. And to push that and get that volume we've introduced two SUVs at the Auto Expo 2023, which are the Fronx and the Jimny. And so, we want to consolidate our position in the SUV space and increase our penetration. So, to do that, we need to make a differentiation from the existing products which we have got.
A four-metre SUV traditionally has an upright A-Pillar and a squarish proportion versus a more aerodynamic kind of SUV, with a high stance on both on the front and rear and an aerodynamic roof. So, I think that was the brief, which was given to the designers, and they have come good on that.
Do We See Any Changes With The Platform?
Raman san: The Fronx is built on the 5th generation Heartect platform, and we wanted to make it more muscular, and more upright from the front and the rear. We also wanted to increase the durability and strength of the body, so 40 per cent High Tensile material has been used in this to improve the overall body rigidity, as well as the torsional rigidity. There is a mix of galvanized steel which has been used. And overall, from a weight perspective, we didn't want it to be too much high but maintained a good power-to-weight ratio. The challenge, of course, was that we have multiple powertrain options that we wanted to mate in this.
For the customer seeking fuel efficiency, we have the K12 N series engine, and for the discerning customers who want more performance, we have the Turbo Boosterjet Direct Injection engine. This was a prerequisite from the start, so the engineering and the design team worked closely on it to achieve our objective.
Why Bring The Boosterjet Engine Now With The Fronx?
Raman san: We wanted to create a differentiation with the Fronx. On the higher side of our SUV portfolio, we have the 1.5-litre mated to two of our SUVs. And for our smaller SUVs, we have the option of a 1.2-litre engine, as well as a 1.0-litre Boosterjet engine. For customers looking for fuel efficiency and optimised performance, we have the larger K-series Dual Jet engine, while customer that wants a little more thrill, can opt for the more powerful unit. To be more competitive, and give our customers good value for money, we have localised the Boosterjet engine, which was first introduced with the Maruti Suzuki Baleno RS.
Will The Fronx Receive A CNG Variant In The Future?
Raman san: Definitely! We will look at it as an option. For now, we have 14 models in our entire CNG portfolio that were also shown at the Auto Expo 2023. As of now, we will wait to see the market reaction to the car and if such a requirement is demanded.
How Has The Market Responded To The New Fronx?
Raman san: I think the response has been excellent. The people are quickly accepting and appreciating the kind of design we have given to the Fronx. And of course, from a comfort, convenience, and features perspective, it has all the bells & whistles and ticks all the boxes, making it a complete package.
Raman san: There'll be an export version since it’s a global product. We will export to markets such as Africa, Latin America and so on.
At What Price Will The Fronx Be Launched?
Raman san: I think we'll have to wait for that for some more time as you know, Maruti Suzuki always is competitive in the market. And I think whatever the customer expectation will meet that.