People well known to Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer have told they are all set for a big product onslaught by planning to launch 15 to 20 new products in 5 years. With the idea of remaining competitive and protecting its market shares, Maruti Suzuki would continue its focus on low-cost products with about 70% to 80% of its upcoming models being small cars and that would include new variants and facelifts for existing cars.
Five of the new products that they are planning to launch are already being developed in the advanced stages. Maruti Suzuki was likely to launch Swift Dzire, sub-4 metre, at the Auto Expo 2012 in Delhi. This would be further followed by the multipurpose automobile based on R-III concept, Ritz backlift, A-Star facelift and a new generation of Alto 800 to be launched by 2013.
Maruti Suzuki would be investing Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1,500 crores on development of products to include their R&D unit in Rohtak in the next 3 to 5 years. The Rohtak unit would be fully operational in the initial 6 months of 2014. Industry experts iterated that a dedicated R&D unit would lower cost in development and would enable them to aggressively price the vehicles.
Experts felt since the product lifestyle was getting diminished, it was empirical that companies introduce fresher and newer products. They said that new products would certainly pull the customers and Maruti Suzuki was responding to that demand. Maruti Suzuki is currently working on their strategies for future product needs in its Japan headquarters.
I.V. Rao, Chief Executive of R&D, Maruti Suzuki, had declined to speak on the total number of products planned for release in the coming years. He told that Indian engineers’ contribution for development of these cars would be peaking up in the ensuing years. He told the engineers were involved in the development of both Indian and global products. He feels with the current dynamics in the Indian car market environment where competitiveness and expectations of customers changing continuously, they were in a better position and would have enough time to react in the coming years.
Furthermore, Suzuki plans to combine the Japanese R&D unit with India and plans to move forward where India would be playing a big role in development of products.
Rakesh Batra, Partner & National Director, Automotive, Ernst and Young, elaborated that the company’s biggest challenge would be to protect its market share. He told Maruti Suzuki would have to offer newer vehicles for comparable competition in a short timeframe. He told the Indian R&D unit, which is stronger with plenty of responsibility on its shoulders would definitely help.