Lower than a yr in the past, Maruti Suzuki was struggling to deal with crises on a number of fronts. It was discovering it laborious to extend manufacturing at its crops in Haryana and Gujarat as availability of semiconductors because of provide chain mismatch fell brief and its market share had dropped under half within the aggressive passenger automobile section, even because the development gave the impression to be firmly in favour of SUVs, an space it was woefully brief in.
Quick ahead to right this moment, and Maruti appears to have gotten its mojo again. Within the course of, the effective print additionally reveals the profitable transformation of India’s greatest carmaker from being a small automobile champ right into a pressure of its personal within the utility automobiles section, in tune with the instances.
Because the auto big revealed its gross sales numbers for final month, it was clear it was its highest-ever month-to-month gross sales quantity. Complete gross sales in August 2023 included a complete of 1.89 automobiles. Within the corresponding month final yr, the corporate had offered simply 1.65 lakh models.
Worse, Maruti needed to go in for shutdown of its manufacturing crops many instances over the previous three years — whereas first it was because of Covid lockdowns and diverting amenities for oxygen, quickly it was the worldwide provide chain mismatch that was responsible. Proper as much as the winter of 2022-’23, Maruti was plagued with a dire scarcity of semiconductor chips, thanks primarily to lockdown-induced shutdowns in China.
Throughout this era, the developments available in the market itself appeared to bear a sea change, because the hitherto small automobile penchant of the Indian automobile purchaser switched firmly in favour of utility automobiles that popularly get marketed below the SUV jargon.
As gross sales of SUV fashions like Hyundai Creta and the numerous merchandise introduced out by Tata sky-rocketed, the market chief may solely look on helplessly on the dwindling share of its as soon as bread-and-butter fashions like Alto and WagonR.
The one utility automobile Maruti may flaunt was Brezza, a mannequin from mid-2010. “Our market evaluation may have been higher and possibly we may have acted sooner on this section,” admitted Shashank Srivastava, presently senior government officer of Maruti to this correspondent in an interview again in 2022.
Nonetheless, to its credit score, it acted quick. “As soon as we establish a section as essential and requires reinforcement, we have now all the time been robust in producing new merchandise,” added Srivastava in the identical interview. “And we’d additionally like to herald new merchandise as shortly as attainable on this section.”
That it did, bringing in a refurbished new search for Brezza in addition to for Grand Vitara, in addition to two new much-awaited entrants — Fronx, a compact SUV mannequin, in addition to Jimny, an all-terrain utility automobile to tackle Mahindra’s widespread off-roader mannequin, Thar.
That lastly appears to be throwing up good-looking dividends. The utility automobile class is considered one of Maruti’s greatest gainers within the newest gross sales desk, greater than doubling to just about 59,000 models final month. Whereas previous horse Ertiga continues its run, the brand new entrants Brezza, Fronx in addition to a late-summer new challenger to Toyota’s Innova, which Maruti calls ‘Invicto’, appear to have executed some heavy lifting.
With the margins being greater for SUVs, Maruti Suzuki in all probability doesn’t thoughts the truth that its small automobile domination period is at an finish, at the very least for now. That is most evident within the gross sales graph of Alto—as soon as its workhorse, its gross sales plummeted from greater than 22,000 automobiles in August of final yr to only above 12,000 final month.