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Unexcited by low EV volumes: Maruti

NEW DELHI: At a time when Tata Motors has recorded electric vehicle sales of over 1,000 units a month, Maruti chairman R C Bhargava has said that “volumes in hundreds and even a 1,000” leave him “a little bit unexcited”. He further added that the company is still developing its green car, which it hopes will sell over 10,000 units a month. “Unfortunately, we will not feel happy if we can sell 300 or 400, or 500, or even a 1,000 cars… for some reason, we have gone to much higher volumes. And volumes in hundreds, and even a 1,000 or so are very good. But they leave us a little bit unexcited. So, we have to see if I start selling electric vehicles, I’d like to sell maybe 10,000 electric vehicles in a month or something like that,” Bhargava told TOI, when asked specifically about the surge in Tata Motors’s electric vehicle sales. He said with the Maruti electric car still a few years away, the company hopes to sell over 1 lakh cars per annum when launched. “If I’m selling two million cars a year, which I will be if things normalise, then does it make sense to sell a car (with volumes of) less than 1 lakh a year?… Does it make much sense for me to launch cars which sell 5,000-15,000 a year? I have to have a car which is more saleable. There has to be a greater demand for the product. All Maruti products when launched have had very significant demand.” Bhargava, however, remained non-committal about the launch plan of the electric car by the company. “I’ll maybe give an outside date, maybe before 2025. But I don’t know. It could be earlier. It all depends on market conditions, what the consumer thinking is, what the price of electric batteries becomes, how the infrastructure is built up… I’m not controlling all these.” He said that there are a series of variables that make it difficult for the company to plan its electric. “The infrastructure is being built by somebody, electric supply is being done by somebody else. The costing is not at all in our hands. Today, I’m told even batteries are becoming scarce because there is a global demand for electric batteries and Chinese are preferring to give it to them. How many things will I control in this situation?” Asked whether the vehicle is being developed by its Japanese parent Suzuki in partnership with compatriot Toyota, he did not give details.

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