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Maruti Suzuki, one of the earliest international carmakers to enter India in 1984, today has an over 40% market share of the overall market and has been able to weather the slowdown of the last two years better than competitors because of its wide range of products, vast distribution network spanning rural India and its value-for-money proposition. In April-September, Maruti's domestic volumes were up 3% at 4.86 lakh units, even though total total sales in the passenger vehicle industry were down 5.15% at 12.01 lakh units.
The company, which recently started a third production line at its Manesar plant outside Delhi, taking its total installed capacity across Manesar and Gurgaon to around 15 lakh units annually, is making investments of about Rs 2,500 crore in a new R&D centre at Rohtak in Haryana, and of over Rs 10,000 crore on a new mega production facility at Gujarat spread over five to six years.
"Maruti Suzuki has always been successful creating sub-segment in the segments, so it will be interesting to see how it positions this vehicle in the domestic market. The competition is already intense between Maruti and Hyundai and it will intensify as Hyundai shift its core focus to the domestic market and tries to protect its dominance,” said Gaurav Vangaal, automotive analyst for light vehicle forecasting at IHS.
Rivals are fast shoring up their small car portfolios. Recently, the country’s second largest carmaker Hyundai launched the Grand i10, the fifth small car in its line-up, targeting Maruti’s Swift. Honda, which has the Brio hatch, is also expanding its presence in the key area of the Indian car market, with plans afoot to set up a third plant focused on a new small car model competing with entry-level models like Maruti’s Alto and Hyundai’s Eon. Ford India is also expected to launch more small car models, while Nissan will relaunch its Datsun sub-brand with the Go next year.