Two years ago, we had committed ourselves to Maruti Suzuki 2.0. The essence of Maruti Suzuki 2.0 is that having been in business – and in leadership – for three decades, it is time to review and renew. We would build on our positive values and practices, even as we recognise and shed habits that would no longer ser ve us in the future. In the spirit of kaizen, this would be our approach and mindset towards our next milestone of 2 million annual sales in 2020.
The early results of Maruti Suzuki 2.0 were visible in 2015-16. Through Nexa, we started to redefine the automotive retail paradigm in India. Our new models speak an aggressive language of transformation in terms of design, technology and features. Innovations around drive technology, like rolling out smart hybrid vehicles, packing in the latest infotainment features and embedding smart ideas like auto gear shift, helped us stay on top of the game. Almost across the range, we have made our products safer and cleaner.
The speed of change has gathered pace. There is a new energy in whatever we do. And with that drive, we are continuing to delight our existing customers, at the same time making attempts to reach out and enthuse new ones to experience the ownership of a new and bold Maruti Suzuki. All this – and our commitment to make ourselves better – have helped maintain our lead in sales, service, revenues and profitability.
This is but the first step to Mission 2020. We are ready for the future – confident, fit and on solid footing.
Game on, should we say?
The first time Maruti Suzuki sold over 1 million vehicles in a year was in 2009-10. We have been moving up ever since. Now, we aim for 2 million vehicles in a year. Even as we do that, we are fully aware that this is not just about adding another million. We seek to enter a new realm, with a completely different context and fresh challenges of scale and complexity. We are game for it.
To win, it is important to focus. To see the aim magnified 10x. To see more details and know everything about whatever matters. This explains our persistent efforts on customer research, going great lengths to understand, obtain customer insights and the finer nuances of the market, conducting in-depth product clinics to hear directly from those who want to own a car and equally from those who live and drive our cars.
Not surprisingly, Maruti Suzuki enjoys a market share of 46.8% in the buzzing Indian passenger vehicle market.
The bedrock of ‘Think. Different.’ is to meet customer aspirations with intelligence and “un”convention. Synthesise customers’ insights and create concepts, products and technologies that meet those expectations. For example, the introduction of new premium sales channel - Nexa or AGS (Auto Gear Shift) or SHVS (mild hybrid) technology. These are India first initiatives, unheard of in the past, introduced to fill a gap or offer solution to customers’ needs and wants.
Once the idea has been received positively, the important part is to spread it quick and wide. We bring all moving parts together, to create with care and speed. Nexa moved from zero to 150 outlets in 12 months, touching the lives of over 100,000 customers in ways never done before.
Take the sales and service network, for example - always a big strength of MSIL. Could escalating real estate prices stress this advantage? The way to safeguard is by investing in land for sales outlets and workshops across India. This ensures we do not let rising real estate prices get in the way of our dealers’ profitability – or prevent us from being close to our customers.
We are nimble and agile. This allows us to adapt or respond to emerging situations quickly. When the Indian market started demanding a compact SUV, we moved quickly to fill this product gap. An Indian chief engineer, supported by Suzuki’s core technology and product development processes, led a team of engineers into action - and delivered the sporty and glamorous Vitara Brezza!
Towards our goal of 2 million units, we have the support of Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), Japan. Suzuki Motor Gujarat, owned by SMC, will take the responsibility of supplying vehicles to MSIL, over our existing capacity of 1.5 million units, freeing-up crucial resources for us to focus on strategic, customer-facing areas such as Marketing & Sales, R&D and Product Development. MSIL’s public shareholders understand the benefits of this unique arrangement for all stakeholders, and voted overwhelmingly in favour.
This has led to many industry-leading outcomes for MSIL. Our new-generation platform is stronger and more rigid, and yet lighter, than in the past. The soon-to-be introduced Boosterjet engine is compact and power packed, and punching much above its CC. The SHVS technology runs more kilometres with the same litre of fuel, which means lower emissions. All of these are results of our continuous improvement, learning and innovation.
It is only consistent delivery of success that will ensure we reach our goal. During 2015-16, Made in India Balenos were exported to Japan – perhaps the most quality conscious automobile market. It was certainly one of the defining events for the industry during the year. A car made in Manesar running on the streets of Tokyo – the whole Nation, including Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, is proud of the Baleno. It is an opportunity, and a responsibility, for us to make sure that when it comes to quality standards, we are spot on.
We are conscious of this. That makes us go on and on, forever focused, ever determined to better ourselves.