INDIA: Maruti Suzuki to focus on domestic market
Maruti Suzuki plans to limit vehicle exports to 15% of its overall production as it focuses more on the local market, where car sales are expected to double in the next five to six years.
The carmaker is keen to maintain its market share of more than 50% in the burgeoning market despite increasing competition from rivals such as Nissan, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen.
It has also been grappling with capacity restraints. In January Maruti Suzuki announced a plan to to raise capacity at its Manesar factory in the northern state of Haryana by 250,000 cars a year by April 2012. It has two factories in Haryana - at Gurgaon and Manesar. The Manesar plant currently produces about 300,000 cars a year while Gurgaon can assemble 700,000.
Increased focus on the domestic market will likely help Maruti grow its volumes, given that car sales in India are expected to rise 12%-13% this financial year. Sales grew 35% during April-July 2010 to 734,969 cars.
Chairman RC Bhargava said Maruti Suzuki plans to strengthen its local research and development capabilities to reduce costs and improve productivity. He added: “To keep our market share, not only should we adequately increase manufacturing capacity, but also remain very aware of the changing consumer tastes and demands and be flexible in making quick adjustments."
Managing director and chief executive Shinzo Nakanishi added that design and technology from parent Suzuki Motor will continue to drive products in the medium-term until its own R&D centre at Rohtak, also in Haryana, becomes operational.