The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza - a model that defied gravity since launch, has seen sales climb down over the past three to four months. Its not just that its been around for long, or that newer models have driven in since. That admission comes from the company itself. That those new models are strong on petrol variants - something the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza does not even have, is what has really begun to hurt it. But there's more to it. It is not just the diesel-only tag but the fact that Maruti Suzuki had announced in April that it would kill the diesel variant next year, that's really caused the decline. And sales have been slumping at an alarming rate. "The vehicle that we are having a problem is the Vitara Brezza - its a diesel car. And we have announced that the diesel Brezza will not be carried over to next year. And people think that the Brezza as a model will disappear. Its not true" says R C Bhargava, Chairman Maruti Suzuki India.
He went on to say that it was possibly a miss on the company's part to have not communicated this to buyers, who incorrectly believed that the Vitara Brezza was destined to be phased out once the BS6 deadline came into effect on April 1 2020. He adds, "Well before the end of this financial year, we will have a petrol (Vitara) Brezza in the market, I don't think customers are aware of that. And when there's a petrol Brezza in the market, all the fears people have that this model will go away, its spare parts will not be available, service will not be available, and its a defunct model - is not valid (sic). So people need to know - we probably slipped up on it - that a petrol Brezza is coming along - and its exactly the same car - except with the petrol engine. And to extend confidence on the diesel also we have given an extended warranty of 5 years - so that people don't feel worried that this car will not work."
The plan to launch a petrol variant to replace the diesel one has always been in the works. In fact carandbike was the first to break that story for you, and you can read that here. The company has two choices - to go with the new 103 bhp, 1.5-litre K15B engine from the Ciaz or the 89 bhp, 1.2-litre VVT engine that powers the Baleno. Both engines are BS6 compliant, and have the option of a torque convertor automatic or CVT auto respectively. While the 1.5-litre engine will help give the Vitara Brezza the necessary punch to take on the rivals, staying with the smaller 1.2 will give it the tax benefit that extends only to smaller displacement sub-4 metre cars. There is a possibility of the car being offered with two engine variants as a result to take the fight to the Hyundai Venue (that also gets two petrol options), as well as the Mahindra XUV300 and upcoming Kia QY subcompact SUV.
Maruti Suzuki had announced in April this year that it would not carry forward its tried and tested 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine family over to the BS6 regime. While the 1.5-litre DDiS 225 engine will make it across the line, the price of upgrading the smaller diesel to meet the BS6 norms was not justifiable. And hence the company took a call that the smaller displacement cars would go petrol only, with hybrid variants in the pipeline. Since then it has also steadily been introducing an increasing number of its BS6 petrol models, like the Baleno, Swift, Wagon R, Dzire and Ertiga. Sales have been under pressure across the automobile industry. In July Maruti's sales crashed 35 per cent over the same month last year. The Vitara Brezza, Ertiga and S-Cross UV segment at Maruti had seen a 38 per cent slump. Conformation on the petrol Vitara Brezza may boost some of its flagging numbers until the car arrives at the start of 2020.