Automobile major Maruti Suzuki’s national foray into the light commercial vehicle (LCV) segment will have to wait for the next financial year, as the company is limiting its newly founded LCV arm to pilot testing in five states in the current financial year.
The company is currently piloting this vehicle in Punjab, Gujarat and West Bengal and it plans to introduce the vehicle in Rajasthan and Haryana. The passenger cars major plans to open about 50 showrooms for the new commercial vehicle, Super Carry, which it plans to scale up depending on the response from the market.
For the new arm, Maruti Suzuki is creating a separate commercial sales and distribution channel. However, the commercial vehicle can be serviced from its existing 3,200 service outlets, which currently cater to passenger cars.
Although Super Carry, a minitruck, marks the company’s foray into the LCV space as a vertical, it will continue with the commercial variants of Omni and Ertiga under the existing dealerships as long as it is demanded in the market.
“Instead of opening shops, people are opening warehouses on the city’s fringes. Taking the benefit of e-commerce, these people are opting to selling their product online and delivering the same. This hub-and-spoke model has created a good opportunity,” said R S Kalsi, the company’s executive director of marketing and sales.
According to Kalsi, the number of units manufactured will depend on the product’s “market response” and “acceptability” to the consumers.
The firm is ramping up its capacity in its plants in Gurgaon and Manesar in Haryana to 750,000 units each while the Hansalpur plant in Gujarat will also be scaled up in phases to produce 750,000 vehicles.
However, the new commercial arm of Maruti Suzuki is not expected to capture the festive season sales or reap the benefits of good monsoon.
“To do it, we need to be present pan-India but we are piloting it this year,” he added. For the time being, the company will be having only one model – Super Carry – in the LCV segment to take on competition.
The company, which is said to have sold about 15 million vehicles in its 32 years of operation, has invested Rs 300 crore to develop the LCV.
Positioned as a last-mile connectivity vehicle, Super Carry is already available in Japan, Indonesia and South Africa.