Maruti Not Compromise On Brand Image Of Jimny, Asserts Shashank Srivastava

Srinjoy Bal
11 Jan 2024
01:10 PM
2 Min Read

Though there has been a demand for a two-wheel drive Jimny, the company does not intend to play with the brand image for slightly higher sales.

Maruti Not Compromise On Brand Image Of Jimny mobility outlook

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) is not looking to compromise on the true identity of its four-wheel drive off-roader Jimny to get higher sales, asserted Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Marketing and Sales of the company.

In an interaction with Mobility Outlook, Srivastava said that though there had been a demand to introduce a two-wheel drive variant of the product, the company was unlikely to do so. That company was keen to maintain the brand identity of Jimny, he added.

The introduction of a two-wheel drive variant would fetch a few more numbers for Jimny, he agreed. However, the company had decided that it would not compromise on the global identity of the brand for a slightest increase in sales, he added.

During the initial period, the off-roader performed as per the company’s expectation, which was around 2500 units a month. In the last few months, however, the sales have dropped.

The yearly volume is about 45,000 units. The segment, nevertheless, is niche with only a few players. During the launch of the Jimny, the company saw a booking line up of 40,000 units with 55% of the demand coming from the automatic variants.

However due to supply constraints, the company was not able to produce as many automatic variants as required. Instead focused on the manual transmission variants. This has led to excess production of the manual transmission option.

In view of this, MSIL introduced heavy sales promotion to clear the stock during the last calendar year with an offer up to INR 2 lakh discount. This has led to sales of about 5,000 units of the Jimny for the month of December. This would also help in further increase in sales of Jimny in the coming months as people would see more units on the road, said Srivastava.

Slow Growth Ahead

During the calendar year 2023, the company saw a YoY growth of 8.11% in domestic sales with a total of 1,303,703 units sold. This growth is largely attributed to the increase in the number of SUVs in the company portfolio. While the company started focusing on SUV from June 2022 with the launch of the updated Brezza and later followed it up with the Grand Vitara in July that year, a greater focus on the body type was seen in 2023 with the launch of three brand new SUV/MPV.

With these launches, the company saw its market share increase from 10% to 22% in the SUV space, he said. A further penetration in the market share would be a challenging task, he admitted. Out of the 90 brands present in the market, 47 brands are SUVs. With this, further increasing the market share would be a ‘big fight’, he said.

The industry saw 49% of its sales coming from SUVs in 2023. The year 2024 could see a plateauing of demand for this body type, he said. While the company was earlier banking on increasing its market share to 50% on the back of SUVs, MSIL is now looking at focusing on other segments to get the desired market share.

Interestingly enough, R C Bhargawa, Chairman, MSIL, had earlier said at a conference that sustained growth for the automotive industry would only happen with entry-level vehicles getting back on track.

According to him, real growth in the segment would happen when customers from the two-wheeler space or first-time buyers entered the market. The only vehicles that would attract them were entry-level offerings.

As things stand now, MSIL enjoys a 65% market share in the non-SUV space with 70% market share in the hatch-back segment, 55% market share in the entry-level sedan segment, 95% in the vans space and 48% in the MPV space.

The strategy more or less would continue on the same line, he said. The focus would be on retaining and strengthening market share in other segments which was actually quite high, he added.

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