India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) on Tuesday said it is ramping up production of premium hatchback Baleno to meet the current demand and reduce the waiting period.
The company also said that its Japanese parent Suzuki Motor Corp is expected to start pilot production at the Gujarat plant in the January-March quarter next year.
“We are making all possible efforts to de-bottleneck the lines and enhance production (of Baleno),” said R S Kalsi, executive director, (marketing and sales), MSIL.
“We have wonderful products in our portfolio like Baleno, S-cross, Vitara and Brezza, which are doing very well in the market. Waiting period is also there (for these vehicles),” he added.
MSIL has over 45,000 outstanding bookings of Baleno and Brezza each. Baleno, launched in last October, has a waiting period of 6-8 months depending on the variant.
MSIL has gradually doubled production of Baleno to around 12,000 a month in the past few months to meet domestic and export requirement.
“It is not only Maruti Suzuki alone. There are close to 250 (company) vendors in the supply chain. They also need to ramp up their production, investments and capacities. So, it takes time. Towards the second part of the year, we would be able to increase the volume,” Kalsi said.
Maruti has started exporting Baleno to Japan from January this year.
MSIL is also planning to add 200 outlets during current financial year in the country.
Kalsi said the total number of ‘Nexa’ outlets would also go up to 250 by the end of the current financial year, from 127 in April.
He also said Suzuki Motor Corp may start pilot production at its wholly-owned Gujarat plant in the last quarter of the current financial year.
The Gujarat plant will supply vehicles and components exclusively to MSIL, which has a capacity to make 2,50,000 vehicles annually in the first phase.
“Products to be manufactured in that plant are yet to be decided. We are working with our manufacturing and engineering teams,” he further said.
MSIL expects that the auto industry may grow at 6-8 percent in the current financial year, while the company is expected to retain its market leader position with double digit growth.