Companies

Maruti will not hold back in electric vehicle segment: Bhargava

Tunia Cherian | | Updated on: Jan 10, 2018

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With the government focusing on promotion of electric vehicles, Maruti Suzuki India will not hold back in the segment and will come up with models based on customer preference, according to company Chairman R. C. Bhargava.

The auto major, which has around 50 per cent of the market share in the Indian passenger vehicle segment, also expects sales to grow in double digits over the next three-five years.

“The Government has announced a programme to rapidly promote the use of electric vehicles in India. It is a laudable policy as it will greatly enhance usage and over time lead to a cleaner environment,” Bhargava told shareholders at the company’s 36th annual general meeting (AGM) here.

He added that the company will come out with electric vehicles after determining customer preference.

“Your company will not hold back in the segment. As soon as we can determine customer preference, we will come up with such models. In the meantime, the focus will be to increase fuel efficiency (in current models) and bring in new technologies,” Bhargava said.

Suzuki Motor Corp Chairman Osamu Suzuki, T Suzuki, along with the top leadership of MSI — Bhargava and Managing Director & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa — were present during the AGM.

Responding to shareholders’ query on growth prospects, Bhargava said: “For the next three-five years the auto industry in India should grow in double digits and I am fairly confident that Maruti, with the support of Suzuki, will certainly grow in double digits.”

He added that with such sales growth the company would be able to achieve its target of selling 2 million units by 2020 and a further 2.5 million and 3 million cars in the future.

Bhargava said the auto industry to a largest extent reflects changes in the economy of the country.

“I, for one, am a firm believer that all the structural changes of the past three years will create a basis for a much faster growth of the economy in the future,” he added.

Bhargava said growth in the economy would lead to a fresh spurt in demand for cars in the country.

“The demand right now is curtailed by infrastructural shortages, and that remains. While highways are getting built, the urban infrastructure building is lagging behind in most parts of the country,” he pointed out.

On a shareholder’s suggestion that the company should now look at defence production also, Bhargava said “it is something which needs to be carefully thought about".

Replying to a demand raised by a shareholder to issue bonus shares, Bhargava said the purpose to a larger extent has been met this year by more than doubling the dividend payout.

Bhargava also spoke at length about various challenges the company has faced and overcome over the past three decades.

Acknowledging the role played by Suzuki over the years, MSI shareholders gave Osamu Suzuki a standing ovation during the AGM.

Published on September 05, 2017
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