Not everything that involves the government leads to problems and failure. For R.C. Bhargava, this was the moral to the success story of his company, India’s first public sector automobile company set up to make economy cars, Maruti.
And after more than three years of research and nostalgic writing, Bhargava and co-author Seetha are out with a book that tells the whole tale. The book, The Maruti Story: How a Public Sector Company put India on Wheels, will be launched in Mumbai on Wednesday. “Government companies don’t have a record for excellence in meeting targets and costs or following norms,” he said.
But Maruti established that India could compete anywhere in the world as a quality manufacturer,” added Bhargava, who has been at the helm of the company right from the time its first Maruti 800 hit the roads in December 1983.
Seetha, a noted Delhi-based journalist and author, believes this was a story waiting to be told.
“Maruti changed the rules of the game and as a joint venture company, beat the private sector,” she said.
When the government commissioned the company in 1981, Maruti had just over two years to find a partner, build a factory, create supplier and sales networks, navigate government regulations and launch a car that would sell 100,000 cars a year.
It exceeded the target, and today, after the government withdrew control in 2003, it makes more than a million cars and has its presence in over 50 countries around the world.
“Indira Gandhi ensured that there was no political interference, and we found a good partner in Suzuki Motor Corporation,” said Bhargava, who believes the book is ideal for those in the management and development industries.
(The Maruti Story: How a Public Sector Company put India on Wheels will be released at 4 pm at Crossword, Kemps Corner, on Wednesday August 4)