Maruti Suzuki will not walk off, but will try to return to a market share of 50 percent: RC Bhargava

(PTI) The largest automaker in India Maruti Suzuki India will not “walk away” and fight to return to its 50% part of market shares in the passenger car segment, according to Maruti Suzuki India’s Chairman R C Bhargava.

The auto giant who is marking 40 years of operation and has had its market share decline to 43.38 percent in FY22, from a peak of 51.21 per cent in FY19.

To regain its position as a dominant player the company will develop models that cater to smaller and urban towns and rural regions.

In the year 2018-19, passenger vehicle sales reached 33,774,436 units. This decreased to 30,69,499 units by 2021-22.

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Maruti Suzuki India achieved its most record annual sales with 17,29,826 units during 2018-19 with its market share at 51.21 percent. It fell to 43.38 percent at 13,31,558 units in 2021-22.

“We will fight to get back to our 50 per cent market share. How much we succeed only time will tell but we certainly don’t intend to walk away and say no we don’t want to fight for it. We will fight for our market share,” Bhargava stated to PTI when he spoke to PTI in an interview.

To achieve sales goals, the firm will offer sport utility vehicle (SUVs) or other design to please the customers He added.

“I believe the Indian customer has a lot of faith and a lot of trust in the Maruti brand and we will work to maintain the trust of the customer,” Bhargava said.

Bhargava stated that the market in India is now divided into two segments “Bharat” market, which refers to the lower range of prices -and an Indian market, where the more expensive premium items are offered.

“Earlier it was a more homogeneous market when we started. One of the things we have to do now is to make sure that we have products for both segments of the market,” He said.

Bhargava acknowledged the fact that “there has been a period in the last four or five years where we (Maruti Suzuki) haven’t had adequate products for the India’ market.”

“We are removing that deficiency,” he said.

The company has planned several SUV launches to try to increase its market share, both in small and mid-sized SUV categories that are currently dominating by South Korean carmakers such as Hyundai and Kia.

Even local automakers Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra have witnessed their market share increase because of their SUV-based models.

“So now we are clear that in India, there are these two markets and we have to have separate kinds of strategies for both markets,” Bhargava declared.

To a question on whether the automaker could keep releasing smaller cars, he stated that the majority of people in India can’t afford costly cars, even though some are now richer and are able to purchase premium cars.

“Let’s stay with the Bharat market. When can the Bharat market afford a Rs 10 lakh-Rs 15 lakh car or SUV? Till that happens, there’s no option for them but a small car,” Bhargava declared and reiterated the company’s determination to serve those on the lower portion of the market with small-sized automobiles.

There are plenty of two-wheelers who want for a car upgrade and their first choices will be the entry level models, but not necessarily costly SUVs, he explained.

The company recently unveiled an entirely new model of its hatchback that is priced at entry level, Alto K10 with a base cost of 3.99 lakh.

Bhargava was also of the opinion that smaller cars provided an extremely safe ride as in comparison to two-wheelers. It was vital to keep the price accessible.

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