Country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki has said it is on course to reach a volume of 2 million units by 2020, a 40% jump over the 1.42 million units sold in FY16. In addition to expanding its sales-service network, the company has said it will launch 15 new products to grow volumes.
"We have promised the Indian consumer about 15 new models till 2020. The Gujarat plant commissioning is being expedited and may start operations by early 2017," Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and chief executive officer, said in the 2015-16 annual report released today.
At present, the company sells 16 models, three of which (S-Cross, Baleno and Brezza) were launched in last one year.
Chairman R C Bhargava said the company's sales and service network is being expanded in a matter that will provide stability to dealers and the company. The company has hired professionals from real estate industry to acquire land parcels for future expansion of sales, service and spare parts facilities.
The Gujarat plant is being set up through a contract-manufacturing arrangement between Maruti Suzuki and its Japanese parent, Suzuki. Investment in the plant is being made by Suzuki and vehicles will be sold to Maruti at cost without a mark-up.
"Our contract manufacturing arrangement with the Gujarat plant will enable us to devote time to customer-centric functions," said Ayukawa. On new safety norms, Ayukawa said the company is on course to meet the timelines.
Maruti said the company is gearing to meet the safety and emission regulations while trying to minimise the impact on customers.
Focus on hybridisation and CNG vehicles
The company, which enjoys a 47% share in the domestic passenger vehicle (cars, utility vehicles and vans) market, said it will expand the hybridisation in cars. "We were the first ones to launch mild hybrid products with reasonably good volumes," said Ayukawa. Its sedan, Ciaz, and utility vehicle, Ertiga, have options of mild hybrid. Maruti said it is making efforts to expand offering of factory-fitted CNG cars to address environmental concerns.
Ayukawa said the company is trying to refine its products from a simple focus on engine performance, fuel efficiency and space to styling, infotainment, hybrid technology and luxury features. "These products have been accepted well," he said referring to models like Ciaz and Baleno.
Action against diesel impacting industry's growth and jobs
Bhargava said cars, especially diesel ones, are being treated as the main villain for polluted air. The Supreme Court imposed a ban on sales of diesel vehicles of 2,000cc and above in the national capital region. The ban has been in force since December 2015. "Not only are the measures being enforced unlikely to make any significant difference to the air quality, but the growth of the industry, and creation of jobs are likely to be adversely impacted. Investors are losing confidence, and customers are unsure of what to do", he said.