Top 10 Facts of Maruti Suzuki’s 40 years of operations | The Financial Express

Top 10 Facts of Maruti Suzuki’s 40 years of operations

Maruti has well managed its reputation of being the most affordable car maker and customers blindly believe this, till date, affordability being the success factor. 

Maruti Suzuki Plant
Maruti Suzuki's Q2 net profit rises 4 times on easing supply chain issues

Passenger vehicle market leader, Maruti Suzuki India completed 40 years of the joint venture with Japan’s Suzuki Motor on August 29, 2022.  

Addressing it in its Annual Integrated Report for FY2022 titled ’40 years of Maruti Suzuki – Joy of Mobility’, the company said, “It has been 40 years since Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan, entered the Indian car market as a joint venture partner in the company to fulfil the aspirations of millions of Indians to own a reliable, affordable and modern technology car.”

So, let’s run through Maruti’s 40-year voyage to see how the brand managed to sustain the ‘reliable, affordable and modern technology car’ image. 

The beginning of the journey 

It was back in 1971 when the then Indian government was on a hunt for ‘people’s cars’ and overtaking the most promising contender, Volkswagen.  

The Maruti Udyog and Suzuki venture which began on February 24, 1981, and the productions that began in 1983 with the Maruti 800 was just the dawn of an amazing legacy that has successfully enjoyed the fame of being the market leader for four decades. 

Well, this was also the time when the homegrown auto major went on to bag the record of going from design to production in just 13 months.   

The time when Maruti ruled the cars market

The company’s dedication turned out to have worked for them and till 1997, these cars accounted for more than 80 percent of the total cars on Indian roads. 

The years witnessed the expansion of the Maruti portfolio with Omni, Esteem, Zen, and 1000. While the auto major began expanding its production, the demands also started flooding in for Maruti. 

Maruti has well managed its reputation of being the most affordable car maker and customers blindly believe this, till date, affordability being the success factor. 

Maruti’s premium positioning 

However, with an image of an ‘affordable carmaker’, when the company ventured into the luxury segment with models like Kizashi and Grand Vitara, it failed miserably. This was the time when the company came up with a new platform for its premium offerings, Maruti Nexa. The company still is considering the cost aspect and offers a comparatively lower price than the competitors even in the luxury segment, too mature at keeping its promises!

Nexa elevated Maruti as a premium brand and with the launch of Baleno, a best-seller emerged in the premium hatchback category from the Maruti Stable. 

Maruti, synonymous with resale value, low-maintenance 

The cars from the Maruti portfolio not just cost you less when you buy them, but they have long-term benefits as well. One can easily expect a 40-50 percent return value for any Maruti product even after 3-4 years from the date of purchase, such is the trustworthiness of the brand Maruti. 

The maintenance value for the cars is also pocket-friendly compared to many of its peers. 

How 21st century panned out for the auto major?  

In 2007 Suzuki Motor Company was renamed Maruti Suzuki India. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) increased its stake in Maruti Suzuki to 56.37 percent in 2020.
Many plants, manufacturing facilities, and more services like True Value, Maruti Finance and Maruti Insurance were incorporated by the Maruti Group. The first CNG variant was also introduced in this period, the 2010 Wagon R CNG. 

Fast forward to 2022, when the industry is focussing on the shift to electric vehicles, Maruti is okay with its own theories of not hurrying. The company goes on with a belief that, for now, considering the stature of the EV market which still has a way to go, it is best to go on with CNG as the best alternative at moment. 

This has made a few criticise the company on such grounds, while the facts show that the company, owing the CNG niche, is driving strong sales. 

The rollercoaster ride to automated manual transmission

Starting from the launch of Celerio, the automated technology and the intelligently priced AMTs were quickly accepted by the customers and the company carried the same tech forward to almost the entire product range from Wagon- R, Alto to Dzire. 

In the period from FY2018-FY2019 Maruti clocked a stupendous growth in its sales. The sales for FY2018 was Rs 781,048 crore for the car maker while FY2019 saw this number jumping to Rs 830,265 crore. 

The pandemic affected the sales and the company managed a muted performance, grossing Rs 716,904 crore in FY2020 and Rs 665,621 crore sales in FY2021. To add to the existing challenges, it also encountered problems related to semiconductor shortages. 

No matter how bad the time comes, things are bound to take shape in the part and parcel and MSIL also managed a comeback with Rs 837,981 crore sales in the FY2022. 

The clever Smart Hybrid/ Mild Hybrid technology from the house of Maruti 

Not a revolutionary technology at all still SHVS gained Maruti a lot of eyeballs. No matter Mahindra incorporated the same years back in Scorpio, Maruti enjoyed the leverage of the same. Perhaps an advantageous move, the company garnered the position of that of the best fuel-efficient cars making company. 

Maruti’s focused approach  

At the same time, Maruti’s focussed market approach has helped the company gain storm footholds in the Tier-2 and 3 cities as well, making it a popular choice across India. 

Maruti is the only manufacturer in the automotive industry which has segment-leading models in almost all the segments, except for the only exception, the D-segment sedan. Kudos to how Maruti has bifurcated its presence across various segments. 

The future goals, commitment to cleaner mobility 

Maruti’s commitment towards green mobility and continuously evolving to the demanding times is backed by its strong hybrid technology, with the introduction of its latest flagship, the Grand Vitara from the partnership with Toyota, the company plans to launch more such vehicles in FY2023.

Besides this, the company also plans to expand its CNG lineup further. As of now, the company offers around nine S-CNG vehicles, including the recently launched Swift S-CNG. 

On the EV front, Hisashi Takeuchi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, MSIL noted that the company plans to bring out Maruti’s first electric vehicles by 2025. 

One step forward vision is what drives Maruti’s journey 

MSIL, in its bid to boost solar power generation and by this increase the use of renewable energy for manufacturing its cars, aims to generate  21.85 MWp by 2024 to reduce the scope-1 and scope-2 CO2 emissions. 

Apart from this, in November 2021,  the company in partnership with Toyotsu, brought its first scrappage centre in the country and now plans to establish a vehicle recycling plant as well by the year 2025. 

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First published on: 29-08-2022 at 20:11 IST