Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car maker, is betting on 'hybridisation” in the years to come, chairman RC Bhargava said in an interview.
“Electric vehicles will not become a major product in the market and the reason is that the small car component of the total market is still very large at around 70 per cent or so. It is not going to be very easy for electric vehicles to penetrate,” Bhargava said in an interview with Udayan Mukherjee, global business editor, Business Today TV.
Shedding light on Maruti Suzuki's plan for electric vehicles (EVs), Bhargava said the first range of products will be introduced in 2024-25. The company already offers a hybrid system in some of its variants, adding that battery technology, charging infrastructure, and the price parity between ICE (Internal Combustion Engines) and electric vehicles needs to be in place, in order to bring down the cost of acquisition of EVs.
“In India, there is scope for all kinds of fuels. CNG cars are growing very fast, and they will be much more than hybrids and electric cars for many years to come, as they are more suitable for the small car market,” the industry veteran noted.
India's largest car manufacturer is of the view that coming late to the competitive SUV segment has its own advantages, as it allowed Maruti Suzuki an upper hand in bringing strong hybrid technology into India. "We also had recent reports which show that the sedan market is once again recovering, and nobody can say for certain that the SUV market will continue to grow at all times in India. Such trends tend to change over time, and one doesn't know when they will change,” Bhargava said.
Maruti Suzuki India witnessed a decline in its market share to about 43 per cent in the recent past. However, the carmaker is hopeful of regaining a market share of close to 50 per cent. “This up and down in the market share has happened in the past as well, we have recovered from around 40 to 50 per cent some years ago. I'm pretty sure that this is going to happen again,” the chairman asserted.
Talking about the semiconductor shortage across the world that has majorly impacted the passenger vehicle supply, Bhargava said that the worst is behind us. “At the moment, the situation is better, this year we seem to be on a road to do a higher production than ever before. And I'm hoping that this trend will continue in the coming years,” he said.
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