We are a nation of extremes, our roads are poor and our population grows like the weeds in the Everglades. You’d think with such conditions, we’d be a nation of soccer moms driving around in minivans. But yet, we’re in love with hatchbacks and lately BMWs. In a country which it seems can’t get over reproduction, it does seem a bit odd that people movers aren’t given enough credit as personal transport as much as they should. We had the era of station wagons which although practical as hell, just didn’t catch the fancy of the Indian buyer.
Lately though, we have begun to take a liking to people movers. It all started with the Toyota Qualis. It was comfortable, it seated seven people and above all nothing really went wrong with it. Fast forward to today and there are multiple players competing for your seven-seater money. But what really has changed is the mindset. People movers are not considered a just a taxi cab anymore. There are more and more people buying them as personal transports. So much so, that Toyota even offers a petrol variant of its popular Innova. The Mahindra Xylo is another MPV that is doing good numbers on the sales charts.
This brings me to another thing we Indians love – Maruti. The Qualis may have made the people-mover segment mainstream. But Maruti is taking it one step further. With the launch of the new Maruti Ertiga, it seems we’re on the verge of a revolution of sorts. Till now all people movers have had one drawback – you knew you were driving an MPV. This is where the Ertiga excels, you see this really is a Swift that thinks it can seat seven people. This means it actually has road manners to talk about. You don’t need to get used to the bobby ride and the soggy handling. You can step straight out of your Alto into the Ertiga and not think twice about hitting Aamby valley road. It’s just what we need.
But you know why there’s going to be a waiting period even for this one? Maruti exactly understands we may have the money, but we don’t really like spending it. Maruti has made sure the Ertiga floats everyone’s boat by launching it at a price which makes some smaller hatches seem expensive. Having left Mahindra and Toyota running around in circles is just the icing on the cake. Sure the Ertiga may be slightly smaller, but it carries a Maruti badge, it’s cheap, practical, it knows we have a population problem and it is going to start a revolution. Ready to give up that saloon yet?