Maruti Suzuki wasn’t always the big company that it is now. Many people have toiled and given their blood and sweat to make MSIL the giant it is today. One of the names that will always ring a bell and in spite of having moved away from the company more than a decade ago, is fondly remembered as the Maruti MD. It is Jagdish Khattar and it is with profound grief we report that he is no more. The 78-year old suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away today. Khattar was the MD of the then Maruti Udyog before his retirement in 2007. He served in the company from 1993-2007. He joined as director of marketing at Maruti Udyog and was elevated as Managing Director in 1999. His first appointment was from the side of the government of India whereas the later one (2002) was through Suzuki Motor Corporation. Ahead of his Maruti assignment, Khattar served in the IAS.
During his stint at Maruti, Khattar had to fend off the fresh European competition that had invaded the Indian car scene. These new entrants lured the car-buying public with their extensive set of features and promise of a safer vehicle. Khattar and his team battled these claims by bringing in new products like the Maruti Swift, SX4 and other such modern cars. After his retirement from Maruti in 2007, Khattar set up his own company – Carnation. This multi-brand car sales and service venture was said to be much ahead of its time. While it gained fame initially because of Khattar’s backing, things went downhill shortly thereafter. A couple of years ago, the company was booked by the CBI on the charges of committing fraud. As of today, Carnation seems to have partnered with Mahindra FirstChoice as is still being shown on their website.
Jagdish Khattar will always fondly be remembered as the Maruti man. May his soul R.I.P.
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