Small cars strengthening Maruti Suzuki's grip on the Indian market

Friday 11 January 2013, 12:57 PM by

Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), the country's largest car maker, has enjoyed a dominant market share in the domestic auto sector with many breakthrough and iconic products for decades. Evidently, small cars have always been the Maruti Suzuki's bread and butter segment in the Indian automobile sector and have fuelled the company's unparalleled and highly enviable market share.

Top industry critics and experts regularly cite Maruti Suzuki as the car maker that thoroughly knows and understands the needs of Indian car enthusiasts with a remarkable precision. The company has identified itself as a firm that manufactures products for the average domestic buyers, who aspire to own a low cost and fuel efficient four-wheeler in their garage. Maruti Suzuki has an unbeatable share in the small car space but has faced failures few times in the past, when it tried to enter new vehicle segments.

MSIL has witnessed some glorious success in the small car segment, with influential models like the iconic Maruti 800 city car (now discontinued), Omni, Zen, Alto, Swift and WagonR. Currently, the company is on cloud nine with the immense success and demand witnessed among domestic car enthusiasts with its recently launched products like Alto 800 entry level small car and Ertiga Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) in India. Maruti Swift is the present champion in premium hatchback segment, while Alto 800 enjoys an unparalleled share in the entry-level small car space of the Indian market.

Maruti Suzuki's high-end products like the premium Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) Grand Vitara and premium luxury saloon Kizashi, have been pronounced failures in the country. Both Grand Vitara and Kizashi were intended for the high-heeled Indian clientele but failed miserably, because MSIL has a limited reputation as a premium luxury car maker in the country. Evidently, Maruti Suzuki is mostly identified as a manufacturer of low-end and affordable passenger vehicles.

Further, Maruti Suzuki is the country's favourite passenger car maker and focuses mostly on the small car segment of Indian market. The strategy has worked brilliantly so far for the company and has also influenced other auto majors, such as Hyundai, Tata Motors and General Motors, to direct their energies and work efforts towards the small car segment. The immense popularity of affordable Maruti Suzuki small cars also leads other companies like Honda, Ford and Toyota to introduce their products in the segment, which helped them record some decent sales numbers as well. Prominent examples are premium hatchbacks Honda Brio, Ford Figo and Toyota Etios Liva, all of which ensures that their makers witnessed impressive sales in the country.

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