Maruti Suzuki has been a household name in the Indian market for over 4 decades now. From the humble beginnings of the Maruti 800 to now readying its first premium MPV, the Maruti Suzuki Invicto, the company has seen tremendous growth in the market.
In this story, we will look at the history and understand the steps Maruti Suzuki has taken to regain its market share in India.
In 1981, Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) was formed as a joint venture between the Indian government and Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan. The government held the majority stake (74%) and Suzuki had a minority stake (26%).
The objective of this organization was to mass produce affordable and fuel-efficient cars for the Indian market. In December 1983, Maruti Suzuki launched its first car, the Maruti 800. It was a compact hatchback that quickly gained popularity due to its affordability, low maintenance costs, and fuel efficiency.
The Maruti 800 played a significant role in transforming the Indian automobile industry and became an iconic car in the country. Since its first launch, Maruti Suzuki enjoyed a joyous ride in the Indian market with a market share of over 50 per cent in the country.
However, a few years back Maruti Suzuki’s market share fell and it came to around 42 per cent. 2022 was the worst year in the company’s history and was filled with issues of build quality and safety concerns.
Maruti is burning the midnight oil to hit the bull’s eye again and regain the market leader position. So, here are a few of the steps that the brand has taken to ensure its dominance in the Indian car market.
Competitive Pricing: Maruti Suzuki offers a wide range of car models across various segments, including hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, and MPVs. By catering to diverse customer preferences, Maruti has spread its fixed costs over a larger number of vehicles, leading to competitive pricing at the budget end.
Maruti Suzuki has a dedicated research and development (R&D) center in India, which enables the company to develop vehicles tailored to the needs and preferences of Indian consumers. Local R&D capabilities help Maruti in understanding the market better, reducing design and development costs which in-turn helps in creating competitively priced vehicles.
In addition, the company has also invested heavily in local production with its manufacturing facilities in Gurugram, Manesar and Gujarat. By sourcing a significant portion of components and materials from local suppliers, the company reduces import costs and takes advantage of lower manufacturing expenses. This localisation strategy allows the brand to price its vehicles competitively.
Suzuki and Toyota entered into a partnership in 2017. The collaboration between the two automakers focused on various areas such as sharing technology, co-developing new vehicles and expanding their market presence. In India, the partnership is aimed to leverage each company’s strengths in areas such as hybrid technology and product development.
Benefiting from the partnership, Maruti Suzuki has introduced several new models and variants in the product line-up. The Toyota Hyryder/ Maruti Grand Vitara and Toyota Innova Hycross/ Maruti Invicto are the greatest examples.
The lack of proper SUVs and premium vehicles in Maruti’s product line-up was one of the major setbacks and was believed to play spoilsport in the company’s sales.
The brand is also revolutionizing its product strategy and has shifted its focus towards Hybrid as well as Electric vehicles. The ban on diesel engines and restrictions on petrol engines has led Maruti towards hybrid engines which seems to be the most viable solution at the moment.
Maruti Suzuki prioritized the integration of safety features across its models, including dual front airbags, ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) and ISOFIX child seat mounts. Additionally, they have incorporated advanced technology features like touchscreen infotainment systems, connected car technology and smartphone integration.
It’s important to note that market dynamics change over time and the Indian car market is witnessing a sudden change in it. Maruti Suzuki’s new strategies and initiatives show that the company is in no mood to let other players capture their market share.
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