India's largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki will not hold back electric vehicles in India and will come up with models based on customer preference, according to company chairman R C Bhargava. The auto major, which has around 48% market share Indian passenger vehicle segment, also expects its sales to grow in double digits over the next 3-5 years."Government has announced programme to rapidly promote the use of electric vehicles in India. It is a very laudable policy as it will greatly enhance the usage and overtime lead to cleaner environment," Maruti Suzuki's Chairman R C Bhargava told shareholders in the company's 36th annual general meeting (AGM). He added that the company will come with electric vehicles after determining customer preference. Addressing Maruti Suzuki's shareholders Bhargava added "Your company will not hold back in the segment. As soon as we can determine the customer preference we will come up with such models. In the meantime, focus will be to increase fuel efficiency (in current models) and bring in new technologies," Bhargava said. Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman Osamu Suzuki, T Suzuki along with top leadership of its Indian arm R.C Bhargava and Managing Director & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa were also present during the AGM.
Responding to shareholders' query on growth prospects, Bhargava said: "For the next 3-5 years the auto industry in India should grow in double digits and I am fairly confident that Maruti, with the support of Suzuki, will certainly grow in the double digits." He added that with such sales growth the company would be able to achieve its target of selling 2 million units by 2020 and a further 2.5 million and 3 million cars in the future. Bhargava said that the auto industry to a largest extent reflects changes in the economy of the country.
"I, for one, am a firm believer that all the structural changes in the past three years will create a basis for much faster growth of the economy in the future," he added. Further emphasizing that growth in the economy would lead to fresh spurt in demand for cars in the country. "The demand right now is curtailed by infrastructural shortages, and that remains. While highways are getting built, the urban infrastructure building is lagging behind in most parts of the country," he pointed out. On a shareholder's suggestion that the company should now look at defense production also, Bhargava said that "it is something which need to be carefully thought about".
Replying to a demand raised by a shareholder to issue bonus shares, Bhargava said that the purpose to a larger extent has been met this year by more than doubling the dividend payout. Bhargava also spoke in length about various challenges the company faced and overcame over the past three decades. Acknowledging the role played by Suzuki over the years, MSI shareholders gave Osamu Suzuki a standing ovation during the AGM.