Maruti Suzuki will today join the league of carmakers producing one million or more units a year, a feat that comes shortly after it overtook the parent company Suzuki Motors in terms of sales.
Toyota, General Motors, Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, Renault, Hyundai, Suzuki and Nissan are among those who boast of production of a million unit or more every year.
“When we started the company (in 1981), nobody believed that it would last beyond 3-4 years, nobody believed that it would one day produce even one lakh units. Everybody thought it was just a political gimmick,” Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman R C Bhargava said.
The first ‘Maruti 800’ was rolled out from Maruti’s Gurgaon plant in December 14, 1983. In its first year of commercial operations, Maruti had produced 840 cars and in the following full fiscal year, production had touched a little over 22,000. Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman Osamu Suzuki would be present to see the roll-out of the one millionth vehicle, a red coloured Swift.
The company has so far sold a total of over 85 lakh cars from about 15 models with over 100 variants. Last year, Maruti’s sales overtook Suzuki’s performance in Japan and the company is credited with revolutionising transport in India. Bhargava credited the successes to the company’s about 8,000-people strong workforce, saying it is the best treasure that MSI possesses.
Over the past 26 years, MSI has contributed about Rs 55,000 crore to the national exchequer. The company has committed itself to over Rs 12,000 crore of investment since 2007 that includes setting up the facility at Manesar, increasing capacity of the Gurgaon plant, a new R&D centre in Rohtak and expanding its capacity further by 2.5 lakh units in Manesar.
In this period, the company has also seen internal changes. From being a joint venture, Maruti Udyog Ltd, between the government and Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp with the latter holding a minority stake of 26 per cent, it is now controlled by the Japanese firm. With it, its name has also been changed to Maruti Suzuki India.
Currently, it enjoys a formidable over 54 per cent share of the domestic passenger car market with presence in over 450 towns and cities through a network of 681 sales outlets.