The Maruti Suzuki appears to be driving the SUV Wave to drive past 50% market share

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. will continue to consolidate its existing product range, including hatchbacks, while strengthening its presence in the fast-growing SUV segment to return to 50% market share in the domestic passenger car market, according to a senior official in the company. .

The country’s largest carmaker, which has seen its market share fall to 43.38% in FY22 from 47.7% in FY21, aims to bring in more SUV products focusing on new technologies such as hybrid powertrains to improve fuel efficiency, making them comparable or better than diesel-powered models currently sold in the market, especially by its Korean rivals.

With no intention of making a comeback in the diesel segment, MSI is also focusing on increasing its game in the CNG segment to bring in additional volumes.

The company had a market share of 51.22% in 2018-19 and 51.03% in 2019-20.

In an interaction with PTI here, MSI Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava noted that the company will pull all stops to regain the lost market share.

“It’s a war cry .. it’s there in our organization .. it’s like constructive paranoia … which means you can not relax .. it does not take much time for market dynamics to change, so we are always on our toes like how to improve efficiency, productivity, etc., “he remarked when asked about the company’s thoughts on regaining 50% market share.

Srivastava said that in the non-SUV segment, the company’s market share was at 67% level, with leading positions in both hatchback and MPV segments.

He acknowledged that the shortage of products in the fast-growing SUV segment had affected its overall market share.

With a deepening of the segment dynamics, Srivastava noted that although the company led the SUV segment at the beginner level with Brezza, it was only in the rapidly growing mid-SUV segment where it lagged behind the competitors with lukewarm response for the S-Cross.

“So overall, our market share in the SUV vertical is only 12%. This is where we are now making an effort to strengthen our presence,” Srivastava said.

He noted that while the company was struggling with poor performance in the segment, some of the competing companies received as much as 60% of their sales from SUVs.

When Srivastava was asked if the lack of diesel driveline could also be part of low output in the vertical, where competitors already offer their products with both petrol and diesel drivelines, Srivastava replied in the negative.

He pointed out that the share of diesel vehicles has dropped drastically to around 18% from the highs of 58% a few years ago.

“In hatchbacks it’s less than 0.5%, in sedan it’s about 1.5%, in MPV it’s down to 20%, so overall it’s 18% that comes from the mid-size SUVs. this segment we believe there is acceptance for diesel as it lacks a good petrol-powered vehicle, “said Srivastava.

He cited the example of Brezza and noted that in the beginner-level SUV segment, the share of diesel accessories used to be in the range of 88%, which has now come down to around 20%.

“We stopped diesel and brought Brezza with 1.5 liters of petrol ..this suddenly changed the dynamics and 88% became 20% .. We think it will also happen in the middle of the SUV …,” stated Srivastava.

He noted that in the hatchback segment it was a clear leader with a dominant market share of 70%, while also in the MPV segment it was far ahead with its market share growing from 35% in 2019 to 61% last fiscal year.

When asked specifically about the entry-level hatchback segment, Srivastava noted that out of a total of 16-17 hatchbacks in the industry, seven belonged to MSI.

He noted that the company will continue to rejuvenate the products in the segment in the future, as it is still the largest volume generator for the car major.

Srivastava also suggested that the company may bring in models, depending on the segment, with strong hybrid powertrains.

“It is possible. Although I can not comment on what we are actually doing, it is a very logical thing to do,” he said when asked if MSI products could see a transition from mild hybrid systems to strong hybrid technologies.

Srivastava said affordability was a major issue and there was a cost associated with the powerful hybrid technology.

“So we have to be very careful which direction we go,” he noted.

Srivastava noted that the transition from hybrid technology, which has both internal combustion engine and battery, to pure electric battery vehicles could be a better option for India, which currently lacks charging infrastructure.

“There is consensus in the industry that electric cars will become mainstream in the future. However, there is no consensus when this should happen …. analysts say that by 2030, 10-12% of sales will be electric cars. .You can not wait for it to be 100 percent to take care of the environment..so what happens..of one is of course to make the engines more efficient and the other thing is to have hybrid which is cheaper to acquire than electric cars..and that is the transition we are talking about..it could well be the way to electricity, «he stated.

Srivastava said the focus on hybrid technology could also help reduce the cost of local production of more EV components.

“If you want to reduce the price of electric cars in India, you need localization. There is some similarity in the components used in the powerful hybrids as well as electric cars. So if you have a larger volume, the localization can be better.” he said.

The problem with electric cars right now is that volumes are low with sales of only around 16,000 units last year, accounting for only 5% of total passenger car sales, Srivastava said, hoping for a boost to the segment, as did electric cars. , from politicians. .

MSI plans to launch more electric cars, the first of which is expected to hit the market in 2025.

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