Even as the car market is on the cusp of a significant change in technology, Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, is betting on small cars and ‘hybridisation’. “This is what we set out to do, to motorise India and give Indian consumers the affordable kind of transport,” its chairman RC Bhargava told ET in an interview. As Maruti Suzuki celebrates its 40th year, Bhargava, who has been with the company from its founding days, reflects on the learnings of the past and the road ahead.
Maruti’s bet on small cars, with a focus on all powertrain technologies
India has two distinct market segments. We will cater to both markets – Bharat Market and the India Market. We will continue to bet on the Bharat market, which is the small car market. While CNG is suitable for the small car market; electric is not yet affordable for small cars.
The battery technology, charging infrastructure and price parity between ICE (internal combustion engine) and electric vehicles needs to be in place, which will ultimately bring down the acquisition cost of EVs, which is the current deterrent.
‘Market Share Loss is Not Worrisome’
This will lead us into a smooth transition to fully electric vehicles.
The small car segment will remain a key requirement for the country, as there are still 230 million two-wheeler users. The landscape of the car market has changed, not because consumers are upgrading to bigger cars. There is a degrowth in small cars as prices have gone up significantly after the BS VI regulations. So in a sense, if we look at the overall car ..
The alliance with Toyota will help us fast track product development to launch technologically
superior products. So for the next decade or so we will continue to lead in the Indian manufacturing landscape.
We did not have a strong presence in the upper segment of the car market. That gap is being addressed through several product launches in the SUV category, over the last four or five years.
Policymakers and industry need to recognise that there is a ‘Bharat market’ and an ‘India market’ and that it is the Bharat market that will feed the India market.
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