Japan’s small car major Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) plans to launch around 15 new models in India in the next five years to aid its arm Maruti Suzuki achieve target of selling two million units annually by 2020.
Highlighting the importance of its Indian arm as “more than ever before”, SMC President T Suzuki said Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) will play a significant role in the group’s plans for the next 100 years as an “engine with a lot of turbo”.
“We are planning to introduce 20 new models in the next five years for the whole group.. out of those 20 models, except for the Kei Jidosha (mini cars), rest will be launched in India,” Suzuki said here during an interaction with a group of visiting Indian journalists.
When asked to specify, he said the total new models that would be launched in India would be “around 15” in five years.
He said the company will launch products in different segments and even get more into making of B and C segment (compact and mid sized) to keep pace with changing customer preference.
Commenting on significance of the Indian market, Suzuki said: “It is said that by 2025 India will be the third largest automotive market in the world. In SMC we have also made preparations to tap the opportunity.”
On the role Maruti Suzuki is likely to play in SMC’s next 100 year plan, he said: “The importance of Indian operations for Suzuki is growing, more than ever before. I would draw parallel of Maruti Suzuki as a driving force, an engine with lot of turbo… for us it is an engine which will exceed performance of ‘Boosterjet’ engine.”
MSI, which currently accounts for 40 per cent of SMC’s total sales, is expected to increase it to 60 per cent by 2020.
When asked about risk associated with over dependence on a single market, Suzuki admitted that it is a cause for concern considering how global markets are and reiterated the need for SMC and MSI to work together as a single team to mitigate the risk.
“There is a risk involved in it (over dependence on India). Maruti is managing the operations well and there are bright areas, however, there are shadow areas which are getting concealed too,” Suzuki said.
Elaborating, he said in Japan tax rates have increased, including on mini cars and how to revive in domestic market is an issue. Moreover how to make the group’s operations in Indonesia, Thailand and Europe profitable are “shadow areas” that needed to be assessed.
“The Indian market is not fully developed yet, we have to develop together and also explore new markets in Africa and Middle East jointly as a team,” Suzuki said.
When asked if Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) is open to increasing stake in MSI from the current 56.21 per cent, he ruled out such a move saying it was in a position to “guide” its Indian arm under the current shareholding pattern.
He also highlighted the need for MSI to be able to take lead in development of global products.
“In the last few years we have been building capability of Maruti Suzuki so that we can develop vehicles which match Indian requirement…but (going forward) I want Maruti Suzuki to be able to develop vehicles for Suzuki’s global markets,” he said.
On the foray into light commercial vehicles segment, he said it would happen in India by the end of this fiscal.
When asked if SMC would seek collaboration with another auto maker to scale up globally, Suzuki quipped “We just divorced and we are not looking for a new partner”, referring to the recently settled case with Volkswagen.
MSI has set a target of achieving two million sales annually by 2020. Last year in August, MSI Chairman RC Bhargava had said that the company would need to double the number of its models to 25, including entries into SUV and LCV segments, as it aims a target to sell three million cars annually.
He, however, said only market would determine by when the company could touch the three-million mark.