Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest carmaker, is gearing up for a major product onslaught with the launch of 15-20 new vehicles in five years. To remain competitive and protect market share, the auto giant will continue to focus on low-cost vehicles, with 70-80 percent of its future offerings likely to be in the small car segment, including facelifts and variants.
Of the new products planned, five are in advanced stages of development. The company is likely to roll out sub-4 metre Swift Dzire at the 2012 Auto Expo in Delhi. A multi-purpose vehicle based on the R-III concept, an A Star facelift, Ritz backlift, and next generation Alto 800 by early 2013 will follow this.
The company will invest Rs 1,000-1,500 crore on product development, including its upcoming R&D unit at Rohtak, over the next three-five years. The Rohtak facility will be operational by the first half of 2014. A dedicated R&D facility will lower cost of development and enable aggressive pricing, said industry experts.
“With product lifecycles getting shorter, it is absolutely critical for companies to introduce newer and fresher products. New products pull customers and Maruti is responding to that,” said people with knowledge of the matter. The company is working on future product portfolio strategy with its headquarters in Japan.
Declining to comment on the number of products for the future, I V Rao, chief executive research and development, Maruti Suzuki, said, “The contribution of Indian engineers will be drastically higher going ahead. They are not only involved in the model development for India but also for global projects. With the dynamic market environment in India, where customer expectations and competitive scenario continuously change, we will be in a much better position to react in the future.”
Also, Suzuki has decided to unify the R&D in Japan with its Indian subsidiary and going forward, India will play a bigger role in product development