Maruti Suzuki is on an overdrive amid a debilitating industry slowdown – to build a huge crop of savvy roadsters. And in the process, it wants to be a corporate good boy.
The market leader, in a unique corporate social responsibility activity, will give driver training at its driving schools and its Institute of Driving Training and Research (IDTR) branches across the country to 100,000 people from the underpriviledged sections of the society. The programme will be spread over three years and and the cost of the training which is almost Rs 23 crore will be wholly borne by the company.
"We are tying up with NGOs (non-governmental organisations) around the country to help identify candidates who are underpriviledged and suitable for the training. Around 30,000 would be those who dont know driving at all and will have to go through the full course while 70,000 would be those who know how to drive and are already on the road but need a
refresher training," said Ravi Bhatia, General Manager at Maruti Suzuki.
The full course usually costs Rs 6,000 per person and is imparted 30 hours of driving training, ten more than what is mandatory. The refresher course costs Rs 700 per person. Overall, Maruti plans to train 500,000 people in three years.
Maruti will also help these newly trained drivers find employment, using the Internet, Bhatia said.
So far there are two IDTRs in the country and 47 driving schools across 43 cities. The company plans to open 6 more IDTRs in Haryana, Uttarakhand and Gujarat in the near future.
The company is also in talks with state governments for direct issue of licences for people trained in these schools. It has already happened in Haryana.