In recent years, India has emerged as a key market for automakers, driving their growth and expansion plans. With increasing attention from car manufacturers, the country is poised to surpass leading nations like the US and China. RC Bhargava, the Chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, recently affirmed this trend, predicting that India will become the leading car market within the next five years, outpacing both the US and China.
According to Bhargava, the US and China are currently ahead of India due to their larger economies. However, in terms of the automotive industry, India has achieved remarkable growth. It has already become a leader in the two-wheeler segment and has been experiencing consistent growth in passenger car sales. Presently, India holds the third position, surpassing Japan in recent times.
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Bhargava acknowledged that overtaking China is a more challenging task due to its much larger market, which records higher car sales. For instance, in 2022, China sold 26.86 million automobiles compared to India’s 20.75 million units across all categories. He suggested that India can surge ahead by significantly increasing the manufacturing capacities of local production facilities in the country.
Maruti Suzuki, where RC Bhargava serves as Chairman, exported 260,000 vehicles in the fiscal year 2022-23. Bhargava noted that this figure could have been higher if production issues such as semiconductor shortages had not arisen. However, as these challenges subside, Maruti Suzuki aims to triple its exports compared to the previous fiscal year, positioning India as a major car exporter.
To bolster exports, Maruti Suzuki has already announced investments of up to Rs 18,000 crore in its upcoming production facility in Sonipat, Haryana in 2022. Over the next seven years, this new facility is expected to become the company’s largest production plant.
Besides Maruti Suzuki, other automakers are also making substantial investments to expand their production and increase exports to other countries. Hyundai, for example, has announced investments of Rs 20,000 crore for the same purpose, while MG plans to invest Rs 5,000 crore in the next 5-7 years.
In addition to their focus on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, car manufacturers are gradually shifting their attention to electric vehicles (EVs) to expand production and exports in the coming years. Even the Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has suggested that India can become the leading automobile market within the next five years by emphasizing EVs and flex-fuel vehicles.
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