Maruti Suzukis share in A&B segments is still 50%

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | Updated: Sep 30 2010, 07:24am hrs
At a time when Maruti Suzukis market share has come under severe pressure owing to rising competition, the company has its job cut out aggressive brand promotion and multiple car launches to fortify its position as the number one carmaker in the country. In an interview to FEs Ronojoy Banerjee, chief general manager (marketing) Shashank Srivastava talks about the challenges ahead and how the countrys largest carmaker is gearing up to deal with it.

In a market which is characterised by such high competition, how is Maruti Suzuki gearing up for this challenge

We are very clear on one thing that all indicators suggest that the passenger car market is going to double in the next five years. Lifestyles have changed with income levels rising constantly thereby making cars a lot more affordable than in the past. In such a scenario, the job is cut out for every carmaker to manufacture products for different categories and segments. Maruti is going to constantly work towards achieving that. In our case we launched the A-Star for the youth.

Some two-wheeler makers are coming out with products mainly for women who account for 50% of our population. Though difficult to replicate such a model in the car segment, has Maruti ever considered launching a car solely for women

The broad target group is still the males, though the number of women buyers have steadily increased in the last few years. For example, the percentage of women car buyers in 2005 was 6% which has now increased to 8-9% in 2010. We may look at launching a womans car in the future but there are no such plans at this stage.

Recently, there have been several reports on how Marutis market share has dipped below 50% for the first time in many years. What do you do in such a scenario

Lets set the records straight. Marutis market share in A and B segment continues to be 50% plus. But it is only when you add the C segment that the market share falls below 50%, touching somewhere around 46-47%. The fact is every time we said that our market share is above 50%, we have always taken the A and B segments only. From that perspective, we have not lost much market share and it continues to above 50%. However, there is no doubt that competition is rising in the car market and it will be a challenge and there will be pressure. In our estimates for the next 4-5 years, at least 46 new models will hit the roads.

How much do you see your advertising budget going up this year

Last year we had invested around Rs 300 crore which included tactical advertisements as well. This year, since there would be more car launches than last year, I can say that the total investment would be more than last years.

How do we see Maruti fighting this competition

We must identify newer segments that are coming up and come out with products that cater to them.

Also we need to keep brand Maruti going.