The country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India, will invest in electric vehicles (EVs) after gauging its customers’ preferences.
The country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), will invest in electric vehicles (EVs) after gauging its customers’ preferences. At the 36th AGM (annual general meeting) of the company, Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava said the auto major will not hold back on the EV segment and “will come up with models as soon as we can determine consumers’ preferences”.
The carmaker will also focus on enhancing fuel efficiency and bringing in new technologies. It even expects its sales to grow by double digits over the next 3-5 years. Significantly, Bhargava’s pledge to invest in EVs and new technologies came in the presence of Suzuki Motor chairman Osamu Suzuki and global president T Suzuki, who attended the AGM along with MSI MD & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa.
Responding to queries by shareholders, Bhargava said,”For the next 3-5 years, the auto industry in India should grow by double digits,” and Maruti will follow suit. This growth, he highlighted, would help Maruti notch up sales of 2 million units by 2020 and a million more down the line.
In FY17, MSI’s net profit stood at Rs 7,337.7 crore, a 37% spike over the previous fiscal’s Rs 5,364.3 crore – Bhargava attributed this marked increase to the carmaker’s ability to ramp up production from its all-new Gujarat plant.
Speaking about the various challenges faced by the company, Bhargava pointed out that with demonetisation, people expected a slowdown in sales but by the end of FY17, the company actually witnessed higher sales.
The MSI chairman also highlighted how the auto industry reflected the changing economic scenario. “I believe that all the structural changes of the past three years will create a basis for a much faster growth of the economy in the future”.
He held how economic growth would lead to an uptick in car sales. “The demand right now is curtailed by infrastructural shortages. While highways are getting built, urban infrastructure is lagging behind in most parts of the country,” he said.
On the question of issuing bonus shares raised by one of the shareholders present at the AGM, Bhargava maintained that the purpose had been met this year by more than doubling the dividend payout. The company’s board has approved a dividend of `75 per share for the current financial year from Rs 35 per share last fiscal.