Maruti enters LCV business
Maruti enters LCV business
Apropos of the news story “Maruti Suzuki plans to enter LCV biz this fiscal” (FE, September 3), despite declining sales in the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment, the country’s largest car-maker Maruti Suzuki has decided to enter the arena. And the company is being cautious. Perhaps that’s why it is launching its first product initially on a pilot basis in some states and then it plans to expand it on a national level. LCV sales have been under pressure for the past few months; in fact, for April-July period of the current financial year, the total domestic sales of LCVs recorded a fall of 5.24% compared to the same period last year. In such a scenario, will the entry of a player of the stature of Maruti change the fortunes of the segment? Perhaps it will. Maruti, once it plunges fully into the segment, will have the advantage of not only its brand value but also of its massive dealership network, most of which covers the hinterland. However, it remains to be seen if the company will be able to pull sales from established manufacturers such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra and Ashok Leyland?
In his interview “We are translating our English courses into Hindi, Tamil and other Indian languages” (FE, September 7), Kabir Chadha, the India country manager of Coursera, says that the company is extremely bullish about India as a market and is making investments to further expand its course offerings and partnerships in the country. And why not? India is Coursera’s third-largest market with over 1 million registered learners. Therefore, it makes perfect business sense for the American online education provider to invest in the country and enjoy the first-mover advantage. But it is also a win-win proposition. As Coursera adds talent to the India team and spends resources to create local content, more and more number of Indian students will have access to online learning material in the language of their choice, and most of which will come free of cost. And it is not just Coursera, various other global online education providers are looking at India keenly as the potential for them is huge. The numbers of those aged between 5 and 21 years are growing and there is a pressing need for education providers, online and otherwise. And with education infrastructure unable to reach far-flung areas, online classrooms become the perfect alternative. The ideal way ahead for them should be to partner with universities locally and also state governments. However, it remains to be seen if such education providers will be able to contribute towards the Skill India mission, where learning is generally hands-on and practical. Can vocational education happen via e-learning?