The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Limited for the longest has retained the crown of being the top-selling brand in India. It has been leading multiple segments of the Indian auto industry for decades. However, one segment that it has never been able to conquer is the SUV segment. Over the years it has had only a few SUVs in its portfolio and some of them failed miserably. It was the Vitara Brezza in recent times that brought the company into the SUV scene. And now with its latest releases – the Grand Vitara and Brezza, and two additional SUVs the company is aiming to increase it market share in the SUV segment.
Recently, the Executive Director at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Shashank Srivastava in an interview with The Economic Times was questioned on how many SUVs is the brand planning to launch in 2023. To which the Maruti executive replied, “We just have two models out of about 46 in the industry in SUV space and so we have prepared for it. Recently we launched the Grand Vitara. We also launched the new Brezza and in the next 10 days, at the auto expo, we will be launching two more SUVs to strengthen our portfolio. That should give us a good increase in the volume in the SUV segment and hence we can move towards our overall objective of trying to get to that 50% market share.”
He also stated, “Maruti’s market share in the non-SUV segment has gone above 65%. It has increased over last year. So, in the non-SUV segment, we seem to be doing quite well. However, the SUV segment is where we have weakness because when you combine the SUV market share with the non-SUV market share, the overall market share falls to below 45% and in our objective to get to 50% market share, we have to introduce more SUV and strengthen our portfolio for SUV.”
The top Maruti official was further asked about a slight lower than expected December sales result to which he replied, “we have to look at the December sales figure a little bit differently from the normal months because in December, the end manufacturers as well as the dealers would like to keep the stock levels at a minimum because of the change of the year and registration year.”
He further added, “That is why the wholesale number for December has been a little muted. The total for the industry was 2,76,000 against 2,55,000 last year. That is a growth of about 8% but in terms of retail, which is really important for measuring what has been the actual market situation for the industry it has been in excess of 4,11,000 against 3,20,000 last year, that is a growth of 28%. So, there is the tales of two cities – high retail but lower wholesale.”
During the interview, he was also asked about what will be the defining factors for year 2023 for Maruti Suzuki. So to answer, Srivastava stated, “We launched nine upgraded or new products in 2022. We will be launching two more SUVs in the next 10 days. One clear objective is that we were trying to increase the production in line with the demand pattern. So while production has increased, it has not really increased along in line with the demand patterns that we have observed. As a result, some of the models like the Ertiga, XL6, Grand Vitara, Brezza, Dzire and Swift, are seeing long waiting periods, which we will try to reduce by hopefully increasing production in line with the demand pattern.”
He also reveealed that the company plans increase its market share to around 50 percent in the SUV segment by pushing more volumes in 2023. He added that apart from this they will keep an eye on red flags like inflation or economic growth getting reduced or liquidity issues, in order to keep them under control.