Maruti Suzuki has been the captain of the Indian passenger car industry for years now. Shashank Srivastava, CGM – Marketing, Maruti Suzuki shares the experience and the way forward

The company has been able to retain its market share even after intense competition in the marketplace. Luck or hardwork? What has been the marketing journey of Maruti Suzuki in the Indian market over the years?
Maruti Suzuki has been able to retain and even grow its market share despite intense competition due to a combination of factors – Products that meet customer requirements, good value, great brand image and extensive distribution network.

The competition in the industry really began in 1996 with Daewoo, followed a few years later by Tata and Hyundai. The nature of the market and the consumer requirements itself have changed dramatically and we are happy that we have been able to identify these trends correctly.

The company recently clocked a figure of one million units in a fiscal. How important has been the role of marketing in achieving this landmark?
One million units in a fiscal is a landmark event and could not have been possible without the active cooperation and teamwork of all verticals. Of course, marketing has a very important role in this. I believe that if consumer trends are identified correctly, products are made accordingly and brands are built properly then sales will follow naturally and easily. In the last fiscal we launched 4 new products: Ritz, Estilo, Grand Vitara and the Eeco. Also, the introduction of K-Series engines has also helped us immensely.

Maruti attempted to transform its image from a people’s carmaker to a more technologically ahead automaker over the years. Do you believe that the company has been able to achieve its target?
As India has progressed economically, naturally the consumer preferences have also evolved both demographically and psychographically. Moreover, there have been major shifts in the market. If you compare the consumer to the older times, the Indian consumer today is younger and more demanding. He is expecting not only value for money and reliability but also recognition and aspiration from the product. Maruti Suzuki has been carefully building its image with these changes in mind. This is even reflected in our Product line-up such as the Swift, Dzire, SX4, Ritz, A-star et al and also the nature of our communication in the Media. We have, I believe, succeeded in conveying this message to a great extent. But there is still a long way to go! Technology is changing rapidly and competition is likely to grow fiercer. We cannot rest.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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