maruti: Cannot write off small cars despite SUV surge, says Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO of Maruti Suzuk

NEW DELHI: Maruti Suzuki, the leader of small cars and India’s biggest passenger vehicles seller, has dismissed suggestions that small cars are on their way out, and asserted that affordable hatchbacks are here to stay and would grow strongly despite SUVs capturing over 50% of the market. Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO of Maruti Suzuki, said small cars will witness a strong comeback as he downplayed concerns that minis will see a sharp reduction in days of SUV dominance. He blamed shortages in supply of components, such as semiconductors, for the fall in sales and share of small cars, adding that hatchbacks will regain lost market. “We maintain that small is big in India, and this will be the trend as we go forward,” Ayukawa told TOI as the company drove in an upgraded version of Celerio hatchback with an entry price of Rs 5 lakh (ex-showroom). “Small cars are not going away. We can get new customers, and they will continue to increase volumes.” The numbers, however, speak otherwise. Buyers are lapping up SUVs across price points — ranging from sub-Rs 10 lakh Hyundai Venue and Kia Sonet to mid-range of Tata Nexon, Hyundai Creta, to the premium ones such as XUV7OO, MG Hector and the luxury ones like Mercedes GLC and GLE. In September and July-September quarter, share of SUVs was more than the cumulative sale of hatchbacks and sedans, a trend that has also prompted companies to look at off-roaders when launching new models. Ayukawa said Maruti is also working on plans for SUVs and other products such as EVs. It is believed that Maruti is working on a series of new cars, including SUVs. Some of these are being developed with Toyota .

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