Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) is doubling down on its plan to become the vehicle of choice for more urban and affluent Indians. The New Delhi-headquartered automaker will open 57 Nexa showrooms, its premium outlets, by March 2025 as the demand for its top-end vehicles continues to grow, Senior Executive Officer (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava said on Thursday. Currently, there are 468 Nexa outlets in the country, the first one was opened in July, 2015 at Dwarka, New Delhi.

Srivastava told Business Standard that around 31.9 per cent of MSIL’s total sales till July this year came from Nexa, up from 22.4 per cent for the whole of 2022-23 (FY23). The country’s largest carmaker currently sells top eight of its 17 passenger vehicle (PV) models – Baleno, Ignis, Grand Vitara, Jimny, Forks, Ciaz, Invicto and XL6 – through Nexa showrooms. The remaining nine PV models are sold through the company’s 2,842 Arena outlets. It also sells a commercial vehicle, the Super Carry, through separate commercial outlets.

Over the years, MSIL has focused its attention on achieving higher presence in the Utility Vehicle (UV) segment, which is registering the fastest growth. The company launched the Grand Vitara, Jimny, Franks and the Invicto (the first car to cost more than Rs 20 lakh) in this segment during the last few years.

This helped MSIL increase its share in the UV segment to 23.12 per cent in the first quarter of FY2024 from 17.4 per cent in the year-ago period, according to data from automaker body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

“The idea of ​​Nexa was to bring in a new type of consumer for MSIL,” Srivastava said.

“MSIL was primarily known for reliability, quality, large network, low cost of maintenance and great value for money. As the economy was growing, we realized that there is a section of consumers who have different buying criteria, and for whom design, features and technology matter more than price or fuel efficiency, he said.

“These were globally connected and slightly more urban people, what we used to call ‘New India’… We have not left India, but at the same time, we have been extremely successful in this ‘New India’ through NEXA. are,” he said. Added.

Compared to Arena, an average Nexa customer is slightly younger, slightly more urban, with a slightly higher average monthly household income (around Rs 90,000 for a Nexa customer, compared to Rs 65,000 for an Arena customer), Srivastava said.

In July, Nexa became the second largest among all sales channels in the Indian auto industry. In FY2012, Arena, Hyundai, Tata Motors and Nexa were the top four sales channels in the auto industry. “We expect this good performance to continue,” said Srivastava, who has spent over three decades at the company.

Chairman RC Bhargava had said in the company’s annual report released earlier this month that MSIL could introduce around 28 different models, including six electric vehicles (EVs), by FY2031.

Currently, the company sells 18 different models. Bhargava said the Indian car industry is expected to grow at six per cent annual growth rate till FY2031.

He said that the company is starting the third phase of its development, Maruti 3.0. “The challenges facing the company are unprecedented. It took us 40 years to build a capacity of 2 million units and SMC (Suzuki Motor Corporation) helped in the process by setting up the Gujarat facility. Your company will now have to add the next 2 million over a period of 9 years,” Bhargava had said.

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