Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) already boasts of the widest sales and service network in India but ten days back, MSIL branched out to a terrain deemed dangerous even by a die hard adventurer.
The company opened a car workshop at Kaza in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh located at an altitude of 3,740 metres. This makes it the highest altitude car workshop in India located right next to IOC's petrol pump, which is renowned for being the highest gas station in the world. With this, Maruti went a notch higher than its own Leh workshop that is at a height of 3,505 metres.
"It is a challenge operating a service station in such conditions but it will help cater to our growing number of customers in the region and also to the high tourist traffic," said Pankaj Narula, executive officer (service), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL).
While life at such high altitude itself is hazardous, servicing cars and doing business with it is even more so especially when the areas are cut off from the rest of the world for a good 4 months every year. The cost of spare parts would also be comparable to other regions in India even though logistic cost are higher.
The service centre at Kaza would cover other surrounding areas such as Rangnik, Kibber, Hanse and Losar towards Keylong as well servicing a pool of around 700 vehicles.
"Most people in this industry are fixated with opening new dealerships, but we at Maruti are equally aware of how important it is to provide service to the cars that are sold," said Mayank Pareek, managing executive officer (marketing and sales), MSIL. "A person can travel some distance to buy a car, which is at the most a three visit exercise, but how far he has to travel to get his car serviced thereafter, often forms the basis of his decision on which car to buy."
At present, Maruti has 2992 workshops in India covering 1406 cities.