‘Wherever we will be, we will owe it all to 800’ | business | Hindustan Times
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‘Wherever we will be, we will owe it all to 800’

As Maruti Suzuki India Ltd turns 25, its Chairman RC Bhargava spoke to Sumant Banerji on Maruti’s achievements, regrets and the next 25 years.

business Updated: Dec 14, 2008 21:11 IST
Sumant Banerji

On turning 25

In isolation, it is nothing big. Of course, 25 years is a landmark and it certainly feels good that we have come this far.

On the one outstanding achievement of the company

Maruti is a product of a legislation and I think it is the only example where a legislation has more than achieved what it had set out to. The company was set up to give consumers an opportunity to own cars that were inexpensive, fuel efficient and durable and I think we have more than achieved that target. Further, we have also modernised the overall automotive industry in the country and contributed in the making of a world class automotive ancillary industry as well.

On targets for the next 25 years

The future is going to be very challenging for the automobile industry in general. Already, we are witnessing that iconic brands like General Motors, Ford and Chrylser are in trouble. We have championed the cause of small cars and now we are seeing the whole world moving to that segment. In the next 25 years, we have a real chance of being counted as one of the premier car makers in the world.

On the market evolution since 1983

Selling cars has never been a problem for us till around seven to eight years back when there was a slight downturn in 2001 and competition got intense.

In fact, in the 1980s and early 1990s, we were grappling with demand and there used to be waiting periods that run for over two years. We never had to push too hard to get customers to buy our cars. It is only in the last few years that we have had to get into discounting and offer incentives and schemes to make it more attractive for our cars to be bought.

On his personal favourite Maruti car

We started with the 800 and wherever we are or we will be, we will owe it all to it. So 800 will always be special.

On regrets after 25 years

I think the spat between Suzuki and the government was unnecessary and could have been easily avoided. Having government support was a big help in the company's growth but the dispute and suspicion between Suzuki and government was uncalled for and that cost the company a lot by actually pulling us back by a few years.