INDIA: Maruti seeks to claw back market share
Maruti Suzuki, the dominant player in the Indian new car market, has seen its share slip below 50% this month but is aiming to claw its way back by launching a record five cars in a single day this week.
The company is pinning its hopes on five new CNG-fuelled versions of the Alto, Estilo, Wagon R, Eeco and SX4.
Managing director Shinzo Nakanishi said: “By the end of this fiscal year, we will again control over 50% of the domestic passenger car market. In fact, that is our aim."
Maruti Suzuki India remains the leading automaker in the Indian market but it faces increasing competition following new model launches by rivals such as Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Earlier this year Maruti’s market share stood at 54% and, although this has dipped below 50%, the domestic market is maintaining strong growth. Car sales rose 38% to 158,764 in July, compared with 115,084 in the same period last year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
The increase, along with the ramp-up by global carmakers in the country, has corresponded with a recovery in India’s economy and a revival of credit, with banks and finance companies now more willing to provide auto loans.
Interest rates are competitive and financing is quite easily available. Maruti’s products remain very competitive and affordable although industry-watchers say new rivals in the small car sector, such as the Ford Figo, VW Polo and the Nissan Micra, will slowly eat away at its market share.