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Maruti eyes pole position in SUV segment, says MD Hisashi Takeuchi

Source: PTI
July 20, 2022 22:47 IST
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Maruti Suzuki India is eyeing a leadership position in the SUV segment as it continues to add new products across various sub segments, a top company official said on Wednesday.

The country's largest carmaker has bolstered its presence in the high volume entry and mid level SUV segments with new Brezza and all new model -- Grand Vitara.

"In every segment except SUV, we are the market leader by a distance.

"It is only in the SUV that we are behind, so we need to catch up. Clearly, we have to become number one in the SUV space also," Maruti Suzuki India MD and CEO Hisashi Takeuchi said in an interaction on the sidelines of the global unveiling of Grand Vitara.

 

He was replying to a query whether the auto major, which has leadership position in the hatchbacks, sedans and MPVs, also eyes pole position in the robustly growing SUV segment.

Takeuchi noted that the SUV market is tough as there were already 56 products competing with each other.

"It (segment) is getting bigger and bigger and so the competition is also getting intense," he said, adding that while the competing brands have many products in the SUV segment, MSI is trying to catch up now with new product interventions.

When asked how soon the company could match up to the likes of Tata Motors and Hyundai in the SUV space, he noted: "I don't know..we would like to do it as quickly as possible."

Takeuchi said that the company currently has a small market share in the mid-SUV vertical as it had insignificant presence in the segment.

"We did not have products in the segment. We had S-Cross but that is more like a crossover type of a product.

"So this is the first time that we have introduced a product in the vertical.

"We will now look to maximise our volumes," he stated.

Last fiscal, the SUV segment accounted for 40 per cent of the overall passenger vehicle sales.

Similarly, the mid-size SUVs contributed half of the sales in the segment.

Also, the entry level SUV segment has become the largest contributor in the overall passenger vehicle sales overtaking the premium hatchbacks which led the market since 2011.

Premium SUV segment, however, remained small despite the presence of various products.

According to Takeuchi, the customers were now looking for more features in their cars leading to enhanced sales of high end trims across models.

On the company's plans to enter the diesel segment, he said the company is not looking to enter the segment in the near future.

Citing European carmakers, he noted that the introduction of strict emission norms have led the automakers to ditch diesel engines in small cars and sedans.

A new set of emission norms could also lead to a similar kind of situation in bigger diesel cars as well, he added.

"So we see more potential for CNG, hybrid cars. Such technologies have a better future," Takeuchi stated.

On market outlook, Takeuchi informed that chip shortage issues continued to impact carmakers.

"Chip shortage issue has not completely gone away, still there are some hiccups..but at the same time demand for personal mobility remains strong," he said.

On small cars, he noted that the company would continue to produce them as it would continue to cater to all kinds of customers in the market.

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