Faced with intense competition and a falling marketshare, India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd on Wednesday told Hindustan Times that it was looking to regain its 50% marketshare in the domestic passenger vehicle segment on the back of fresh models and more diesel cars.
Maruti's marketshare in the passenger vehicle segment has fallen to under 38% so far this fiscal, from 45.7% last year.
In the passenger car segment, which it has always dominated, marketshare has slid to 41.7% this fiscal from 49.4% last year.
The firm makes 13 models in India, 7 of them small cars.
"A new small car and more diesel cars would be the weapons for recovery of marketshare for us," said Shinjo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, MSIL. "We want to get back to the 50% marketshare and to do that we need to bring in our 14th model. Overall we perhaps need 20 models... so there will be a 14th, 15th, 16th model very soon."
The company cited a shift in consumer preference for diesel cars as a major reason for the decline in its market presence.
"The share of diesel cars in overall sales has gone up from 35% to 50% this year and that has impacted us as we have limited capacities," Nakanishi said. "Now we have to think diesel. The reason we hesitate is that we don't know which way government policies may go. If we spend R1,500 crore to develop a new car and then policies change we would be in a problem."
At present, Maruti has a diesel engine capacity of 2.4 lakh. This is being expanded to 3 lakh units. The company is also in talks with Italy's Fiat for sourcing upto 1 lakh more engines, but it may need yet another 1 lakh engines.
'Tariff benefit for EU would be unfair'
Breaking its silence on the contentious issue of lowering tariff barriers for cars in the proposed India-EU free trade agreement, Maruti on Wednesday said the government should maintain a level playing field for all manufacturers.
"If the government is ready with the FTA, then my argument is give a level playing field for everybody," said Shinjo Nakanishi, managing director and CEO, MSIL. "Else it would not be fair."