Maruti Suzuki’s dominance in India is the envy of many but unlike others its future is hinged on India. Is it risky being so dependent on a single market?
Having a big market share in India is a strength of Suzuki, and we want to further enhance our marketing capability and service capability in India to make our brand stronger. No doubt, increasing profitability is a challenge. We would like to strengthen our fundamentals and build on the foundations. In order to get more Indian customers we want to enhance our capabilities in products, services and sales. We want to increase our value to a situation where we are able to get better profits. But yes, it’s a challenge.
Are you concerned with policy making in India? Recently diesel emissions have come under attack when you have invested heavily in diesel engines.
Whenever regulations like this are being chalked out it has to be done strategically. Policies have to shaped in a step-by-step way. In the case of diesel, any abrupt decision will adversely impact the manufacturer and it becomes difficult to comply with norms. This also causes inconvenience to customers and there’s a possibility it would adversely impact the nation as a whole.
Will we ever see a Suzuki product designed and developed completely in India?
Since 1983 Maruti has been based upon the technology developed by Suzuki. In future we would be giving that technology to Maruti, which will use to develop new models. Whatever technology we have developed we are sharing with Indian engineers. We plan to focus on these employees and they will be taking the lead in developing newer models for India.
You’ve previously denied reports of a potential partnership with Toyota. How can you survive without an alliance for new technologies in the future?
I don’t think you need only scale to survive in this business. In case a company can deliver products and services which exceed expectations, it can survive. If you look at the auto industry it is necessary for us to develop new technology. But to depend on alliance is not good for the company. We must attempt to develop this on our own and it is only when we can do that would we look at joint development (in all probability with a component manufacturer).
So after your break up with Volkswagen the sense one gets is that you are not in hurry to dive into another relationship.
We are not immediately looking out for some other equipment partner. First we have to do our own study as to what kind of capabilities we have before taking any decision.
Is Osamu Suzuki a tough boss, and father?
He has huge experience and he has been at the top for such a long time, so from that angle it is difficult to really surpass his achievements. I feel blessed to have him as a father but yes working with him is a challenge!