Maruti Suzuki India has redefined LUV for the Indian car buyer with its recently launched Ertiga. While Mahindras-owned Ssangyong Motor introduced its Actyon Sports model as a 'Leisure Utility Vehicle', Maruti Suzuki Ertiga stands for 'Life Utility Vehicle'.
India's largest carmaker has even gone ahead to promote the new car on huge billboards and adverts with the punchline "Live life with LUV".
Investors appear to have responded in kind too, with Maruti stocks having surged 9.3 per cent since the launch of Ertiga on April 12, versus a 2 per cent gain in the broader Nifty index, after analysts cited the competitive pricing for the model.
Maruti Suzuki needed to find new avenues to keep its leadership position, especially considering the fact that its market share in the Indian passenger vehicles segment, which stood at 26.18 lakh units, went down to 38.44 per cent last financial year.
Thus came the LUV - 'Life Utility Vehicle' - in the form of a seven-seater van Ertiga.
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"Ertiga strengthens the product portfolio of the market leader and also creates an all new Life Utility segment," MSI had said while launching the vehicle.
Maruti Suzuki has also said its first global compact multi-purpose vehicle has received around 400 bookings from Maharashtra on the first day of the launch.
"Even before the launch of the Ertiga here, we have had 400 bookings from Maharashtra," Maruti Suzuki commercial business head for western region, S N Burman, had told reporters on April 12.
The company has priced Ertiga at Rs 6.23-8.88 lakh.
Explaining why the company needed to fall for LUV, MSI Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said: "Many urban families in India are now looking for a vehicle that offers more space and flexibility than a sedan, without being bulky, bland and expensive like a utility vehicle."
These families are currently having to compromise, and settle for a vehicle which does not meet their lifestyle needs, he added.
Nevertheless, is there a possibility of the two LUVs clashing in India in the near future?
M&M President (Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors) Pawan Goenka said the company is "not at present" planning to launch their LUV in the country.