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Maruti feels pressure, to ramp up small cars

autos Updated: Jan 05, 2010 22:37 IST
HT Correspondent

As all eyes turn to the Indian small car segment and biggies like General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota launch their small cars, Maruti Suzuki, the leader in the segment, is feeling the pressure to hold its fort. The company plans to ramp up its production to hold its market share at 50 per cent.

“If the Indian car market touches the expected 3 million unit mark in 2015, we will increase our production to 1.5 million by 2015 and retain a 50 per cent market share,” said Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki, at the 10th Auto Expo, 2010, New Delhi.

The company, however, denied to disclose its investment for the expansion. "The investment plans will get decided in the board meeting later this month," said an official from Maruti Suzuki.

The company is under pressure from its competitors and plans to tackle it. “We are feeling the pressure and to deal with tough competition we will review our network, cost and capacity.”

GM launched its ‘Beat’ at a competitive price of Rs 3.34 lakh on Monday but Maruti Suzuki will wait for the market to give an idea on the pricing.

“If the competitor reduces the price, we can’t change our prices, however, it will depend on the market conditions,” said Nakanishi.

With plans of expansion well defined in line with the expanding automobile segment, Maruti desires to add fresh capacity along with stretching capacity on its existing plants.

“My desire is to add a capacity of 3 lakh units at the Manesar plant and stretch the capacity further to take it to 1.5 million by 2015,” said Nakanishi.

Even as pressure mounts, Maruti expects its sales to grow at around 10 per cent in 2010.

“On an annualised basis we have grown about 9.5-10 per cent in the last two years. We expect the same rate of growth in the calendar year 2010,” said Nakanishi.

So far in the current fiscal 2009-10, Maruti Suzuki has sold 7.31 lakh units, while in 2008-09 they had sold about 7.92 lakh units.

At the auto expo, Maruti Suzuki unveiled a small multi-purpose concept vehicle (MPV) RCIII. The company also said that it would launch its premium sedan based on the concept Kizashi, by the 2010-end in India.

“There is a room for creating a new segment in the small MPV and that is what we aim to do,” said Nakanishi. The company is still deciding whether to import the sedans or assemble them in India.