While its passenger cars dominate the Indian roads, its two-wheelers have struggled to capture the same space. Now, after a 10-year struggle, Suzuki Motor Corporation's two-wheeler subsidiary in India, Suzuki Motorcycle India (SMIPL), will reach break-even this year and will mark the beginning of a new phase in India, according to SMIPL GM (export, sales and dealer development) Kenji Hirozawa.
Meanwhile SMIPL will also see a leadership change in India with the current MD, Masayoshi Ito going back to the headquarters in Japan to take over the global leadership role. Satoshi Uchida is likely to take over from Ito as MD for Indian operations. He comes in from Suzuki Motor in Thailand. Suzuki Motorcycle has been trailing in the Indian two-wheeler market as it struggled to build up volumes in the Indian market with its two-wheeler offerings. But with the company expecting a break even this year after ten years in the business, Hirozawa said they will now look at aggressive growth in the market.
“We will be breaking even. So next fiscal we are hopeful we will grow aggressively that will increase our sales,” he said. The most difficult part of doing business in India for the company was that with limited volumes cost reductions was difficult, he added.
The company's sales have deteriorated in the last few years, Hirozawa said on the sidelines of the new Access 125 launch in Pune on Wednesday.
The new Access 125 is a full model change of their flagship Access scooter and is expected to stop the decline and return the company back to its peak sales. The Access, launched in 2007, was successful and peaked to around three lakh units in 2008-9 but since then sales of Access dropped as the product was outdated and people opted for cheaper mileage bikes.
The company decided to stay out of the fiercely competitive 110 cc segment and decided to focus resources on the higher end 125 cc segment in scooters and in the 150 cc in motorcycles. There is too much competition in this segment so the company decided to cater to the people who aspire to have a better differentiated scooter, he said.
Suzuki has production capacity of five lakh units in India. By end of March they will be reaching production of around 3.2 lakh to 3.3 lakh while exports will be 60,000 units.