Maruti's shift of focus has been strategised in the wake of Tata's Rs 1-lakh Nano, poised to hit the market this year.
Although Maruti officials say the company has no threat perceptions from Nano, this shift makes it evident that the company is forced to develop its business in the upper segment of the market. So long, it captured the entry level segment with its compact cars like Maruti 800 and Alto.
Managing executive officer (production) MM Singh, at the launch of Swift Dzire in the city on Thursday, told reporters Maruti will have to strategise its business in a way to retain 50% marketshare.
Singh said: "Nano is not a challenge to Maruti's entry-level cars like Maruti 800 and Alto because it will create a new segment. But a new segment means enlarging the overall market size, in which retaining a 50% plus share is a hard job.
"However, we are focused to maintain 50% share in the existing segments and not consider any new segment. Tata's small car is more of a threat to motorcycle manufacturers," Singh added.
Although Singh did not agree that Maruti is forced to leave an open space to the Tatas at the entry-level for compact cars, he said there will be no face-lift given to Maruti-800.
According to Singh, the company does not have any immediate plans to phase out Maruti-800, but wait for the market to respond to Nano.
He said Maruti will, right now, concentrate on the A-3 segment, under which it has its SX-4 and the newly launched DeZire models at present. The company plans to launch two more models under this segment this year.
In the A-2 segment, the company is ready with the design and engineering of A-star and will start manufacturing it from the Manesar plant in Rajasthan from October. But it will first launch the car in the European market early next year, Singh said.
Maruti so far has launched 14 models under the A-2 segment, 3 models under the A-3 segment and one, Maruti- 800, under the A-1 segment. Maruti-800 stirred the market with maximum excitement.