Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) is planning to launch hybrid and electric vehicles, boost its presence in the SUV segment, and add several mini showrooms in the rural pockets of India to maintain a market share of more than 50 percent.
SMC, which is the parent company of Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker, announced its mid-term management plan lasting five years beginning April 2021. The announcement coincided with the declaration by Osamu Suzuki to step down and retire as the Chairman of SMC from June.
“In India, Suzuki will take the initiative in promoting electrification required by society in response to environmental issues, and maintain market share of more than 50 percent in passenger car segment," SMC said.
As of January, Maruti Suzuki had a market share of 48.81 percent in the domestic passenger vehicle segment, showed Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers' data.
While Maruti Suzuki has strengthened its rural market base, which now accounts for two out of every five vehicles sold, SMC believes that more needs to be done to tap the demand. The mid-term plan talks about an increase in the number of small outlets and development of demand in the rural areas.
There are around 3,500 sales and service outlets of Maruti Suzuki, made of 3085 Arena showrooms and 350-370 Nexa showrooms. Maruti also has separate showrooms for its used car business run under the brand True Value and also for the commercial vehicle business.
SMC’s plan also lays emphasis on hybrids and electric vehicles, which is an area where Maruti Suzuki is yet to make its debut. SMC targets development of electrification technology by 2025 before its full application by 2030. Each of Maruti Suzuki’s immediate rivals including Hyundai, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra entered this space a few years ago.
SMC will not just introduce fully electric vehicles, but also promote penetration of hybrids in India. So far none of the other mass market carmakers have evinced a strong interest in launching hybrid vehicles in India given the high taxes slapped on them.
Despite being partially powered by a battery, a hybrid vehicle is put in the same tax bracket in India as a regular petrol or diesel vehicle thus making them expensive. Maruti Suzuki stands to benefit from the alliance between SMC and Toyota Motor Corporation for mutual supply of hybrid vehicles and the development of small electric vehicle platform.SMC added that its production capacity in India will have to stay in line with the growth of the Indian car market through till 2026. As per estimates made by business intelligence company JATO Dynamics, the Indian passenger vehicle market is expected to grow to 4.8 million per year recording a CAGR of 5 percent.