The Hindu Business Line
Mumbai, July 18 Maruti Suzuki, which has been averaging monthly sales of around 75,000 units during the April-June period of this fiscal, is likely to ramp up production by 25 per cent towards September to meet the Diwali season demand.
"We are expecting the company to roll out at least 90,000 cars a month by end-September and maintain the momentum through November," top ancillary suppliers to Maruti told Business Line.
In the process, they add, the carmaker is poised to touch sales of one million units this fiscal, which marks a significant jump from nearly eight lakh units in 2008-09.
"All the company's products are doing roaring business especially the A-Star, the Ritz, the Swift and the Alto. We have our order books full," said a supplier, who did not wish to be identified.
In a nutshell, Maruti is not going to give up its leadership slot in a hurry, despite the healthy competition emerging in the market.
"By the end of the day, it offers customers a heady mix of value for money (even in used cars), sales and service support. In addition, the company has been churning out new products that have sustained customer interest," another supplier said.
Market observers maintain that the Tata Nano could end up eating into a share of Maruti's market share but that is going to take some time.
In the first place, production of the Nano for this fiscal will be confined to barely 45,000 cars from Tata Motors' interim plant at Pantnagar. Numbers will increase during 2009-10 when the Sanand facility in Gujarat is up and running but even then bridging the gap with an aggressive market leader will take some time longer, they say.
Exports look strong
What has been equally heartening for Maruti is the fact that its exports have been surging lately to account for at least 15 per cent of its total output and tipped to rise even further in the coming months. This has largely been propelled by Europe's scrappage schemes (especially in Germany, France and the UK) which have increased demand for fuel-efficient cars.
The company has also been going flat out on its rural drive and sales here are also taking up 15 per cent of production. The focus here will only sharpen in the future through a host of schemes intended to woo buyers in these markets.
"Maruti has constantly been in the forefront for innovative finance schemes which have targeted specific customers such as teachers, lawyers, journalists, policemen and even panchayat chiefs. The lessons have been handy in evolving new retail initiatives to push sales," sources said.
In the midst of this buoyancy, there are some issues to ponder over. There is a huge demand for Maruti's diesel cars but dealers say delivery schedules are still under some pressure thanks to the company's export commitments to east Europe.
There is also a degree of apprehension that with a slew of models, some could be marginalised but then, as experts say, this is only inevitable. "The idea is to constantly keep buyers eager and excited. Not all products may work but the ones that do will make all the difference in the leadership stakes," they aver.