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Last Updated : May 13, 2019 11:46 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Suzuki, Toyota to extend partnership to sales, service learnings

Maruti hinted at plans to expand its parent company’s ties with Toyota and perhaps integrate Toyota’s ‘way of selling and servicing cars

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
 
 
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Maruti Suzuki’s parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation and heavyweight Toyota could be looking to learn sales, marketing and service methods from each other to bolster their front-end set up as rivals gear up to challenge the duo.

In the first week in May when more than 1,200 Maruti Suzuki dealers were invited to Macau, the car market leader hinted at plans to expand its parent company’s ties with Toyota and, perhaps, integrate Toyota’s “way of selling and servicing cars”.

A Maruti Suzuki dealer who attended the summit said, “One key takeaway from the summit was that Maruti will take help from Toyota in areas beyond technology also. Toyota’s sales training module, its processes will be adapted by Maruti. Toyota does not have the best priced vehicle in the world but it has the best system in the world.”

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As per a J D Power 2018 India Customer Service Index (Mass Market) study, Maruti Suzuki’s score stood at 804 points on the scale of 1,000, much below the industry average of 838 points and far below that of Hyundai which topped the ranking with 912 points for the second consecutive year.

Maruti’s ranking in 2018 in the same study slipped to the eight position from the second position in 2017 and from the top position in 2016. In 2018, Toyota fared better than Maruti Suzuki with 827 points. The study evaluates and ranks companies based on the satisfaction of consumers who took their cars for servicing.

Maruti, which has a market-share of around 50 percent in the domestic passenger car space, has more than 2,400 dealerships including those from the newly-formed premium division Nexa. In comparison, Toyota has only 365 dealerships with a huge focus on urban pockets.

“Under Toyota’s way of working things, if a service center promises delivery of the car within one hour then it is the same in any country and the car will be delivered within one hour after servicing. But that’s not necessarily the case at Maruti. That is why it is important to learn Toyota’s processes,” added another dealer.

In an effort to go as mass market as possible, Maruti stretched itself thin on resources. According to market watchers, this forced it to go soft on aspects such as sales, marketing and service. This is happening at a time when Maruti is steadily bolstering its premium image with a number of models planned under the Nexa range.

The market leader is planning at least one new model addition to the Nexa range this financial year though it has been very tight-lipped about the product. It has been nearly 30 months since Maruti added a new model to the Nexa range. The last addition came in January 2017 with the launch of the Ignis.

Suzuki and Toyota are working jointly in areas of product development, engine and product sharing, technology development and sharing including green mobility technologies such as hybrids and electric vehicles. The two companies signed a cooperation agreement in 2017.

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First Published on May 13, 2019 11:46 am
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