Maruti pushes exports for rapid growth

Written by Roudra Bhattacharya | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 19 2012, 06:20am hrs
To maintain growth and profitability in a slow market, Maruti Suzuki has adopted a multi-pronged export strategy with a focus on non-EU markets to keep its five plants running at maximum capacity. While beating slowdown in the domestic car sales, this will also help utilise its idle manufacturing capacity of over half a million petrol engines.

The market leader also aims to almost double the exports of the Ertiga to Indonesia to 8,000 units by January. A success story in India, the Ertiga is also a runaway hit in Indonesia where multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) account for over half of the 10 lakh units a year car market. Maruti exports the Ertiga as completely-knocked-down (CKD) kits, which are later assembled at Suzukis plant in Indonesia.

Ertigas waiting periods had been growing in Indonesia. Domestic demand is also high. India is the only manufacturing base for the Swift-based MPV. So, as it is launched in more markets, Maruti will gain in terms of revenues from exports, a Maruti executive said.

Since prices of component and high-grade steel imports have gone up with the weakening rupee, analyst feel the focus on exports for carmakers is important to offset the high cost of imported components.

From 75,000, we will grow non-EU exports by 30% this year. That is the main focus as the European markets are facing a severe slowdown, a company official told FE.

Maruti has also begun exporting about 2,000 CKD kits a month of the Swift to Thailand from April. The Swift, probably Suzukis most popular product globally, is also made in Hungary and Japan. Meanwhile, the new Dzire, another Suzuki model only made in India, is also being exported aggressively to markets such as Algeria, the Philippines and South America.

Another critical leg of the strategy is engine exports, especially of petrol power plants. The shift in demand has left most carmakers with a huge idle capacity for petrol engines. Were exporting the 1-litre K-Series engine to Hungary for use in the Suzuki Splash (Ritz in India), the official said. In India, the same engine is used across models such as the Alto K10, A-Star, WagonR and the Zen Estilo.

With flat growth in the first half of 2012-13, Maruti now has a very modest projection for the entire fiscal. From a 10% growth projection in April, chairman RC Bhargava said that the target has now been lowered to a 5% growth for 2012-13. However, this is better than the 1-3% growth for the overall car market projected by industry body Siam earlier this week.

In 2011-12, Marutis sales had fallen 11% to 1 million vehicles. This year round, the Ertiga and the new Swift have been the saviours, with the new Alto launch also expected to push volumes. We were hopeful of a better performance earlier this year, but the demand slowed down and then the Manesar trouble happened. That has severely impacted production, Bhargava said.

M&M, SsangYong developing engines for global market

New Delhi : Auto major Mahindra & Mahindra on Thursday said it is developing three new engine platforms, along with its Korean subsidiary SsangYong Motor, which are likely to hit the roads in the next two-three years in markets across the world.

We are looking at joint product development, M&M chief executive (automotive division) Pravin Shah said. Both companies are developing the three engines keeping in mind India, South Korea and other markets around the world, he added. It will take us 24-36 months to develop these engines, he added.

We are also working on joint global sourcing and utilising global network for products, Shah said. He said M&M will put in R4,000 crore in the next three years, while SsangYong will make an investment of R1,500 crore. PTI