Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer, is betting big on SUVs to grow its dominance in the passenger vehicle segment. The company currently has a market share of 45 percent and it aims to increase the share to 50 percent in the near future. In an interaction with Express Drives, Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, Sales & Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, reveals the company’s SUV onslaught plans. He also talks about the company’s growing CNG portfolio, electrification goals, supply chain issues and more.
Sport Utility Vehicles, for the win!
Maruti Suzuki’s medium-term objective is to achieve a 50 percent market share in the overall passenger vehicle segment. In the non-SUV category, its dominance was in excess of 65 percent current fiscal but the presence in the SUV space was just 10.5 percent and so cumulatively its market share came down to 45 percent.
“We examined the SUV market share and found that there are 46 brands in the market in this segment and we had only one – the Brezza. Though it’s the highest-selling SUV in its segment, it could not get to a market share above 11 percent. One of the basic corrective measures was to get more models in our portfolio and that is why we got the Grand Vitara in September last year,” said Shashank Srivastava.
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He further added, “Next year, we’ll have the full-year sale available for the Grand Vitara and now we have also got these two vehicles, the Jimny and the Fronx. With four vehicles, we hope to increase this market share substantially and I guess if we touch 25%, it should be good for us to be number one in the SUV segment.”
The all-new Maruti Suzuki Fronx will be launched in India next month while the prices of the Jimny 5-door SUV will be revealed in May this year. Both these sub-compact SUVs made their global debut at the Auto Expo 2023. Pre-bookings for the same are already open and they have collectively garnered 40,000 bookings yet.
Varied powertrains to remain future-proof
Maruti Suzuki stays committed to varied powertrains to remain future-proof amid the changing dynamics of the Indian automotive industry. The company is looking at a mix of technologies to achieve emission targets, which includes conventional internal combustion engines, flex-fuel, CNG, biogas, mild-hybrids, strong-hybrids and of course electric vehicles for the long term.
Suzuki Motor Corporation, the parent company of Maruti Suzuki, has already announced that six EVs will be launched in India by 2030 with the first electric SUV incoming in FY24. The eVX, showcased at the Auto Expo 2023, will be Maruti’s first electric SUV for India. By 2030, the company plans to have a portfolio of 60 percent ICE cars (including CNG & flex-fuel), 15 percent electric vehicles and 25 percent will be hybrid models.
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Slight rebound in the hatchback segment
The sales of entry-level hatchbacks have been dwindling ever since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Maruti’s Srivastava, the hatchback segment used to be about 45 percent of the overall market just two years ago but now it has come down to 35 percent. There are various factors associated with it as it’s a price-sensitive segment. But this year, it is said to have witnessed a rebound of almost 20 percent and should close the year around 13.60 lakh from 11.60 lakh units a year ago.
Supply chain woes and upcoming products
Shashank Srivastava also addressed the supply chain woes that have been playing a spoilsport in the automotive sector. He said that while the semiconductor issue still persists, it is much better than what it used to be earlier. Currently, the company is able to produce around 95 percent of its production plan and the supply chain disruptions are confined to select models such as the Maruti Brezza, Ciaz, Grand Vitara, XL6, etc.
Watch Video | Maruti Suzuki Jimny at Auto Expo 2023:
Maruti Suzuki recently introduced the Brezza S-CNG in India. Now, out of the 15 Maruti models on sale, 14 cars are offered with a factory-fitted CNG kit and the Ciaz remains an exception. While the company didn’t reveal its future product plans, save for the launch of the Jimny 5-door and the Fronx, Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are rumoured to be working on Maruti’s derivative of the Innova HyCross MPV.
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