Maruti Suzuki Eeco, India’s largest selling affordable utility vehicle, has crossed the 5 lakh sales milestone, nearly eight years after it was introduced.

The ‘van’ was brought in as a bigger, safer and stronger alternative to the relatively successful Omni.

However, Eeco failed to match up to the success of the Omni, partly because the competitive dynamics of the Indian market had changed by the time the Eeco was launched.

The low price also served as a disincentive to many dealers who preferred to push higher-margin products like Wagon R and Swift.

As a result, while the first 1 lakh sales of Eeco took place in around a-year-and-a-half, the company took another four years to sell the next 2 lakh. In other words, it was able to cross the 3 lakh milestone only in 2015-16, more than five years after the model was launched.

However, the pace has picked up somewhat since then. Maruti Suzuki took less than three years to sell its next 2 lakh units, thus taking the total to 5 lakhs.

The van offers a surprisingly good experience in the front seats, though the rear seats are more utilitarian compared to the comforts of a typical car.

It is offered in both five-seater and a seven seater configurations.

The low price has also made it attractive to businesses, especially those with cargo-carrying needs in the city, while the sliding door makes it well suited to city conditions.

Maruti launched the cargo variant four years ago.

“Eeco is designed to meet varied functional needs – be it personal such as an outing with family or for business,” said R S Kalsi, head of marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki. “Eeco has been a partner in progress for young entrepreneurs in the country.”

The CNG variant of Eeco delivers fuel economy of 21.8 km/kg, while the petrol variant offers 16.2 kmpl. CNG variants account for over 17% of total Eeco sales.

It comes with a 1200 cc engine that delivers a power of 54kw@6000 rpm.

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