Stung by reports of a loss of marketshare in the domestic passenger car market, the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, said retaining its over 50 per cent share in the market was no more its main focus, adding it no longer had a target for it.
The company’s share in the passenger car segment (classified as A segment) has been declining since the start of the year and currently stands at 47.9 per cent in the April-August period as opposed to 52.9 per cent during the same period last year. This is the first time ever that Maruti has a below 50 per cent marketshare over a considerable period of time.
“We do not know what the marketshare would be (in future),” said R.C. Bhargava, chairman, MSIL. “That is not our main focus. Our primary focus is only to satisfy our customers.”
The drop is largely due to a number of new launches including Tata Nano and Ford Figo and despite the fact that Maruti itself had a robust growth of 21.6 per cent so far in this fiscal. And the industry has grown faster at 34.3 per cent putting the company on the backfoot.
“Marketshare is only a number that reflects what is happening in the market and how much a company can sell,” Bhargava said. “We are not focussed fundamentally on marketshare and a lower marketshare does not mean we have lost out. Only the definition has changed as more sub segments have been added.”
Internally, Maruti monitors its share based on the passenger cars and multipurpose vehicles (Omni, Eeco) segments, where it still accounts for 52 per cent share.
But the industry either tracks the car segment or passenger vehicle segment that includes SUV, MUV and jeeps as a whole and on both these counts, Maruti has a below 50 per cent share.
But even as the company blamed semantics, it has tried to regain its hold in the recent past. Maruti launched a peppier version of its best selling Alto and five CNG variants of existing cars last month.
“With the launch of five new CNG cars, we hopefully will increase our marketshare to over 50 per cent,” MSIL CEO and MD Shinzo Nakanishi had then said. “By the end of this fiscal (2009-10), we will again control over 50 per cent of the domestic passenger car market. In fact, that is our aim.”
The main damage for Maruti was caused by the Tata Nano, which at 8,103 units last month was the fifth largest selling car in the country.
The Nano has now taken over the mini car segment which only has the age old 800 for competition.