Mike Stevens | Jan 6, 2012

Maruti Suzuki, an Indian-market pairing of Japanese carmaker Suzuki and the once-troubled Maruti Technical Services, is now India's largest carmaker with around 40 percent of the country's new car sales.

This week, the duo has revealed the XA Alpha Concept, a design study that brings elements of the ageing Jimny together with the current Grand Vitara, while sitting between the two Suzuki icons in size.

The styling of the XA was handled by the company India-based designers, working closely with a team of engineers from Suzuki's Japanese offices.

Little in the way of technical details has been revealed, although Maruti Suzuki has confirmed that the five-door SUV concept measures 4000mm long, making it around 350mm longer than the Jimny, 150mm longer than the Swift hatch and 60mm shorter than the three-door Grand Vitara.

Suzuki says the XA is focused on younger drivers in an urban setting, chasing a sports-focused look rather than the more ruggedly styled SUVs available in India.

"The Concept XA is designed for a market of customers with a young urban lifestyle. This Concept showcases the unified R&D efforts of Suzuki and Maruti which will be a big asset for us in India in the future," Maruti Suzuki CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said at this week's New Delhi Auto Expo.

Whether the XA Alpha will make its way to production is unclear, but with the stylish new Ford EcoSport SUV on the way, and challengers from rivals Mahindra and Tata, Maruti Suzuki will be looking to maintain its leadership in the segment.

"India is on course to become one of the top automobile economies of the world, powered by the middle class and continued government support. Customers will become more and more sophisticated," Nakanishi said.

"The choice of automobile will be dictated more and more by the way of life of customers. We will launch new products and create new categories to their choice."

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