In December 2007, Mr. Shinzo Nakanishi took over Maruti Suzuki India as Managing Director to replace Mr. Jagdish Khattar. The new joint Managing Director, Hirofumi Nagao, also hails from Japan and so do all other heads of departments. This is the first time that Maruti is seeing executives from Japan at the reign, instead of Indians. This major change came after the joint venture between the Japanese auto maker and the Indian government came to an end in December.
Maruti Suzuki India saw a dip in profits in 2007, but has regained its composure at the beginning of 2008. The new Maruti Suzuki management plans to pour in investments into India and develop new products. They also plan to expand the research and development section to come up with newer and better ideas for future Maruti vehicles.
It looks like Suzuki is taking Tata’s ambitious one-lakh-car-threat seriously. Nakanishi confirmed that his main objective would be to maintain Maruti’s No. 1 position in the market and also capture 50% of the market share. The slashing of prices at the end of December 2007 on the Maruti 800, the former peoples’ car of India, and various other Maruti models shows the aggressive stance that the new Managing Director is willing to take.
The Japanese manufacturer plans to increase yearly sales to 10 Lakh units by 2010 compared to the current sales of almost 6 Lakh units. Suzuki also plans to export 1 Lakh units of the concept car, A-Star, to Europe. A rumour doing rounds in the auto industry is that Suzuki is coming up with another sedan called Dezire to replace the Esteem. The Dezire will most probably be based on the successful design of the hatchback, Swift.