Changing tastes drive launches: Maruti MD

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New Delhi | Published: January 26, 2016 1:35:17 AM

Maruti Suzuki managing director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said on Monday that it is for the auto manufacturers to tackle the demand slowdown by constantly innovating...

Maruti Suzuki managing director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said on Monday that it is for the auto manufacturers to tackle the demand slowdown by constantly innovating and bringing products in the market that matches the changing profile of the customers. Speaking to a group of editors, Ayukawa said that the good thing about the domestic market is that there’s lot of potential customers and with changing purchasing power their demand is changing. “The challenge before auto manufacturers is how to complement the customers’ demand,” he said.

e was responding to a question whether there was a demand slowdown in the market which has led growth to come from only new launches and discounts. Ayukawa said that when newer products are launched in the market some discount is inevitable.

While the Maruti MD sounded a note of optimism in the medium term, his executive director (marketing and sales) RS Kalsi discounted any notion that the auto sector is cruising along. While the FY16 April-December industry growth came in at 9.05% against 3.9% in the same period in the previous year, and Maruti’s growth at 13.87% against 11.11%, Kalsi said that these are wholesale figures — despatches from the factory to dealers. “If you see the retail figures, the industry growth during this period is 5.5% and if Maruti is taken out it is only 1.5%. So it is too early to say that the auto sector is out of the woods,” Kalsi said.

Ayukawa said that four out of five top selling models are from Maruti and unlike some of its competitors who drive sales through two or three brands, in the case of Maruti all models are showing growth so it is more balanced in nature. He said that to meet the changing aspirations and needs of the customers, the company is moving to what is called “Two Pedal Convenience”, which means offering features like automatic gear shift, automatic transmission and continuous variable transmission across brands and models.

The 2020 vision of the company is to increase its sales outlet to 4,000 from the current 1,700. Its Nexa outlets will increase by then to 400 from the current 100. The company plans to have 5,000 workshops by then against 3,500 it has today. It is targeting annual sales of 2 million units plus by then against the current 1.5 million and will launch 15 new products.

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