Suzuki Japan Developing Affordable Strong Hybrid Tech For India: Maruti Chairman

Following the announcement of the company’s Q4 FY24 results, Maruti Suzuki Chairman R.C. Bhargava told carandbike that the cost of hybrid technology used by alliance partner Toyota is still “quite high”.

By Amaan Ahmed


1 mins read


Published on April 27, 2024

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  • Suzuki working on strong hybrid system for smaller cars that will “improve fuel economies”: R.C. Bhargava
  • At present, even in its home market, Suzuki’s strong hybrids cost upwards of the Indian equivalent of Rs 10 lakh.
  • In Maruti Suzuki’s existing portfolio, the entry-level strong hybrid vehicle costs Rs 18.43 lakh (ex-showroom).

While a number of prominent car companies have committed fully to building battery electric vehicles (BEV), India’s leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki – along with alliance partner Toyota – is still batting for the future of strong hybrid electric vehicles (SHEV). The company’s pragmatic view is that strong hybrid systems enhance fuel efficiency, slash vehicle emissions and eliminate doubts over charging infrastructure and range anxiety. However, Maruti Suzuki doesn’t have a single strong hybrid vehicle in the sub-Rs. 10 lakh space, and that is something parent firm Suzuki is working to address, according to a senior company official.


Also Read: All-New Maruti Suzuki Swift Bookings Open At Select Dealerships


Speaking to carandbike following the announcement of the carmaker’s Q4 FY24 results, Maruti Suzuki Chairman R.C. Bhargava admitted that the cost of strong hybrid technology, as seen in Toyota India’s models today, remains high, but revealed Suzuki Japan is readying strong hybrid tech which will help enhance fuel efficiency, and will be introduced in cars that are much more affordable.


RC Bhargava Maruti Suzuki India Chariman 2022 12 20 T06 53 24 571 Z

Maruti Chairman R.C. Bhargava said a reduction in GST would make a big difference in demand for hybrid cars.


“The cost of the technology which goes into the Toyota hybrids is still quite high, and that is why the cost of the car becomes high. Work is ongoing in Suzuki Japan on evolving better [strong hybrid] technology which will enable smaller cars to take advantage of the principles of hybridisation, to improve fuel economies at a much more affordable cost. You can look forward to small cars with much better mileage than what they have today. It all depends how quickly and how effectively Suzuki Japan can develop a technology which is robust and which will give the kind of results we want. At the moment, it's not there”, Bhargava told carandbike.


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At present, even in its home market, Suzuki offers only mild-hybrid systems on its most affordable vehicles. In Japan, a strong hybrid system is available only on bigger passenger vehicles from Suzuki such as the Solio and Landy, with the most affordable version also being priced upwards of the Indian equivalent of Rs 10 lakh. However, the gains in efficiency with the addition of a strong hybrid system are clear, even more so for a small car. For perspective, the strong hybrid version of the Solio delivers 3 kmpl more mileage than the equivalent petrol Solio.


suzuki solio strong hybrid technology

Even in its home market, Suzuki only offers strong hybrid systems on its bigger, more expensive passenger vehicles.


In India, Maruti Suzuki has only two strong hybrid vehicles on sale, both of which are born out of the carmaker’s global partnership with Toyota – the Grand Vitara, and the Innova Hycross-based Invicto. Of these, the most accessible strong hybrid variant of the Grand Vitara is priced at Rs 18.43 lakh (ex-showroom), which means the technology is still far beyond the reach of the average car buyer in the country. The strong hybrid vehicle with the lowest price tag at present is the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, at Rs 16.66 lakh (ex-showroom).


Also Read: Maruti Suzuki Swift: Tracing Its Evolution Over Four Generations


Bhargava said that the mooted reduction in GST levied on hybrid cars – currently pegged at 43 per cent – would make a “big difference” in demand for such cars. Road and transport minister Nitin Gadkari recently suggested the GST Council may consider slashing GST on hybrid cars from 43 per cent to 12 per cent, but Bhargava said the company will have to wait and watch what happens following the conclusion of the general elections.


Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara Tracking 1

The most accessible strong hybrid Maruti on sale today is the Grand Vitara, which is priced from Rs 18.43 lakh (ex-showroom).


Maruti Suzuki’s own maiden battery electric vehicle, previewed by the EVX concept, is also expected to be unveiled in production form towards the end of 2024. Before it, Maruti will launch the new-generation Swift hatchback, as well as the new Dzire sedan based on the Swift.

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