Suzuki Motor's India unit unveils concept electric SUV, sees 2025 launch

Auto Expo 2023 in Greater Noida

(Corrects dateline to Greater Noida from New Delhi)

By Aditi Shah and Praveen Paramasivam

GREATER NOIDA, India (Reuters) -Suzuki Motor Corp's Indian unit showcased a concept electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) at India's biennial car show on Wednesday, with the Japanese car maker's president saying the car would be launched in 2025.

"I'm delighted to unveil the eVX, a concept SUV of our first global strategic EV (electric vehicle). We plan to bring it to market by 2025," said Suzuki Motor President Toshihiro Suzuki, speaking at an auto show event on the outskirts of the capital city of New Delhi.

The mid-sized vehicle, known as the 'eVX', will be powered by a 60 kWh battery pack offering up to 550 kilometres of driving range, according to Maruti Suzuki India.

Suzuki Motor has said it will spend more than 104 billion rupees ($1.3 billion) on its electrification push in India, including a battery plant for EVs starting 2026, making it one of its biggest battery and electric vehicle investments globally.

Maruti faces growing competition from rivals as buyers shift to bigger cars such as SUVs and regulators demand safer and greener cars, increasing costs. This has pushed its market share to below 43%, down from over 50% in 2019.

Electrification is also seen as a challenge for the carmaker that wants New Delhi to incentivise all cleaner technologies, including hybrid and ethanol, and not just EVs.

"We believe that deployment of multiple technologies ... will help to achieve the national goal of lowering emissions and oil consumption," said Hisashi Takeuchi, managing director, Maruti Suzuki India.

India is pushing carmakers to build more electric cars by offering companies billions of dollars in incentives with a lofty target of a market share of 30% for electric cars by 2030. Currently, electric cars make up less than 1% of total car sales in India.

($1 = 81.6020 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)