After shifting its focus to SUVs, Maruti Suzuki’s next big target is the electric vehicle segment. The automaker’s Japanese partner recently revealed that it will launch as many as six electric vehicles for the Indian market in the next decade. Maruti’s EV ambitions will depend in part on its Japanese partner Suzuki Motor Corp. According to reports, Suzuki plans to borrow electric vehicle technology from Toyota Motor and use it to make small electric vehicles. Not only will these small EVs be part of its global product portfolio, but they are also believed to influence Maruti’s first batch of EVs in India.
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“So how to introduce this EV technology in small cars is something we need to work on and share with Toyota,” the Japanese automaker’s president Toshihiro Suzuki was quoted as saying by Reuters. 5% stake. Facing the threat of being displaced by Tesla as the number one automaker, Toyota itself is planning to reboot its electric vehicle strategy to stay ahead of rivals. This will eventually help Suzuki chart its own EV roadmap as well. According to the automaker, its goal is to develop an electric vehicle from the ground up.
Maruti Suzuki showed how serious it is about EVs at the recently concluded 2023 Auto Expo. The automaker has unveiled its first electric vehicle concept, the eVX, which is expected to enter production in 2025. India’s largest automaker, with a market share of more than 40% share, is the only company among the top five automakers in India that has not yet ventured into the field of electric vehicles.
WATCH: Maruti unveils eVX EV concept at Auto Expo 2023
Maruti’s EV move comes at a critical time when the segment is growing rapidly to become mainstream. Maruti has at least five electric vehicles between its biggest Indian rivals Hyundai and Tata Motors. Tata Motors is currently the leader in passenger electric vehicles with a market share of over 90%. Mahindra and Mahindra, one of India’s largest automakers, is also entering the EV business with the XUV400 and plans to launch five more in the next few years.
RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, had earlier hinted that the automaker would not jump on the EV bandwagon unless the business became viable enough. The company aims to eventually sell at least 10,000 EVs per month, as volume is key for Maruti. “No matter what other manufacturers say or plan, EVs are not going to be a big part of car sales,” Bhargava said in June last year.
Recently, Bhargava said that Maruti’s first EV will not be for the mass market. “At the beginning, they will be at the high end of the market. They will not go to the low end initially. We hope that these electric vehicles will be accepted by customers because these electric vehicles are well designed and built,” he said.
So far, Maruti Suzuki has been focusing more on alternative fuels. It is a leader in CNG vehicles, offering more than 10 models. It has also been working on ethanol-based models and biogas-fueled vehicles as part of its aim to reduce its carbon footprint. Electric vehicles will add another key dimension to India’s largest automaker’s future roadmap.
First published date: Feb 3, 2023, 11:47am CST