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Maruti Suzuki RIII getting ready for a 2011 launch

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Maruti's big ticket entry into the large MUV/MPV space, the RIII could come out as early as the first half of 2011. According to sources, the company has already signed sourcing deals with its vendors and is looking at even exporting the MPV.

First shown at the 2010 Auto Expo, the RIII MPV will be a seven seater based on the SX4/Swift platform. Using an extended wheelbase and heavier componentry, the RIII is Suzuki's way of hedging its risks as competition in the small car market, both in India and other markets increases.

The RIII could feature not just Suzuki engines, but also engines from the Volkswagen group who own a 19.9 per cent stake in the company. Since Suzuki has access to only the Multijet diesel engine from its lone plant in India, which too is running at full capacity, it makes both mechanical as well as economic sense for Suzuki to consider a diesel engine from VW. One of the likely contenders could be the 1.6-litre common rail diesel motor from the upcoming Vento with 105 bhp, though this is a matter of conjecture at this point. Suzuki's 1.2-litre K Series engine or its 1.6-litre VVT engine from the SX4 could be the most likely petrol powerplant.

According to sources, over 20 engineers had worked on the concept and that since the Auto Expo, the company is still to finalise the footprint and other engineering alterations based on customer feedback and response.

The RIII, when launched will be Maruti Suzuki's third people mover after the Omni and Eeco