Small cars not disappearing anywhere, says Maruti Suzuki

NEW DELHI: Undeterred by the diminishing demand for compact cars that are fast losing business to SUVs, Maruti Suzuki on Thursday said the category “is not disappearing anywhere”, asserting that it will “not give up on small cars“.
The company is also “considering” to drive in electric mini cars, even though its first green vehicle will be an SUV. Demand for small cars is likely to come back over the coming years even though the segment has seen its share in total car sales contract by nearly half over the past four years, said Hisashi Takeuchi, MD & CEO of Maruti Suzuki.
The country’s largest carmaker has built its foundations on mini cars, such as, Maruti800, Alto, Zen, WagonR, Swift, and Baleno, since it began operations in 1983.However, after the boom in demand for SUVs, which now account for 50% share in passenger vehicle segment, share of small cars has declined to 28% at FY24-end against over 50% a few years back.
In FY24, 12 lakh small cars were sold in the country (against total sales of around 40 lakh units), with Maruti accounting for 68% (on total volumes of 8.1 lakh units.)
Takeuchi, after introducing new-gen version of Swift, said despite pressures, Maruti “still makes money” on sale of small cars. “We continue to maintain a high market share in the category. Sooner or later, as the economy starts to pick up, demand for small cars will return.”
Ravi Bhatia, India president of automobile research firm JATO Analytics, said small car category has seen rise in pressure due to increasing popularity of similarly-priced mini SUVs. “The faux SUVs are new hatches,” he said, adding, despite fall in small car sales, numbers of Swift grew 10% last year.
First introduced in May 2005, Swift is one of Maruti’s most-successful mini cars and has sold nearly 30 lakh units till now. Maruti has spent Rs 1,450 crore to upgrade the model, and believes that new version will help revive the category.

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