We will make strong comeback in SUV space, says Maruti Suzuki MD

New Delhi, April 17 : Even as chip shortage hit its car production and led to loss of some market share to rivals, Maruti Suzuki still remains the undisputed leader in Indian car market and has put plans in place to capture a bigger slice of fast-growing SUV segment, in order to consolidate its position. “We would like to (continue to) be a leader in automotive industry in India and maintain this position and try to achieve 50 per cent share. Of course, we have to be present in every single segment of cars in India like starting from small passenger cars to sedan, of course SUVs — small SUVs and mid-SUVs. “This 40 per cent (SUV market) is a big market and we have to be there with products and we must be successful in this market too,” Maruti Suzuki’s newly-appointed MD and CEO Hisashi Takeuchi said in a media interaction. “At this stage we can’t say when, what, which model is coming, when it is coming so on, but surely we have a plan to make a strong comeback to SUV (market),” he added. Sport utility vehicles or SUVs have emerged as the hot-selling car segment overtaking hatchbacks, which have for decades been the preferred choice of car buyers. This has compelled the car companies to bolster their presence in the segment. With its strong portfolio in the entry-level as well as mid-segment led by popular models like Alto, WagonR, Swift, Baleno Maruti Suzuki has been the domestic market leader. It, however, lags in SUV space. As per an ICICI Direct brokerage research released in January this year, Maruti Suzuki’s market share ex-SUV segment is pegged at 65 per cent. Its market share in hatchbacks is 67 per cent, passenger car segment is 63 per cent, MPVs is 64 per cent and Vans 96 per cent. The SUV market now accounts for almost 40 per cent of the total car market. While the Japanese car major has focussed on CNG variant of its popular models to offer green fuel options to customers, the company’s parent Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced plans to launch first electric vehicle (EV) in 2025 and its plan remains intact. “Of course EV is one of the most important technologies to make environment better. This is important for India. The specialists say that EV share will be, maybe, 10 per cent by 2030 and if that is happening, then the remaining 90 per cent will be non-EVs. “If we have to make India’s environment better then obviously we have to do something for those remaining 90 per cent of the vehicles… how we can make them more energy efficient. To do this we have to employ all possible technologies,” Takeuchi said. On chip shortage, the top Maruti executive said that situation has eased and in the last quarter of FY22, there was significant improvement. “But from April onwards this year, I don’t see much improvement happening from last quarter. So still some shortage situation is there,” he said. NK RJ

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