Maruti Suzuki on Thursday unveiled two new products—Jimny and Fronx—in India in a bid to secure top position in the sports utility vehicle segment and regain 50 per cent market share in the country's passenger vehicles market.
With semiconductor shortage issues gradually getting tapering off, the company expects supply of its models, specially SUVs which have large pending orders, to get better in the ongoing quarter.
The company's medium-term goal has been to get back 50 per cent market share and secure the number one position in the SUV segment, Maruti Suzuki India MD and CEO Hisashi Takeuchi said while unveiling the products here at the Auto Expo 2023.
"I am confident that Maruti Suzuki will attain number one position in the SUV segment in the financial year 23-24," Takeuchi said.
The country's largest carmaker also seeks to regain 50 per cent market share in the domestic passenger vehicle segment by bolstering its presence in the sports utility vehicle (SUV) space.
In an interaction with reporters on the sidelines, while he did not share a timeline for getting to 50 per cent market share, Takeuchi said a more realistic target is to get to around 45 per cent in 2023-24 and the SUVs will play a key role in it.
In 2022, India's passenger vehicles market is estimated to have clocked record wholesales of 37.93 lakh units at a growth of 23 per cent.
Takeuchi said Jimny will be manufactured at the company's Gurugram plant. India is the only country where the five-door version of the model is being manufactured.
"Jimny in its five-door avatar is being unveiled first in India today. Positioned as an all-terrain, robust, compact lifestyle SUV, this authentic 4-Wheel-Drive off-roader can tackle the harshest of terrains," he added.
The vehicle will also be exported from India to other markets, he said, adding Jimny comes with half a century of heritage. Suzuki has sold more than 3.2 million units of Jimny worldwide, in 199 countries and regions.
Bookings for both Jimny and Fronx have opened on Thursday and Takeuchi said deliveries are expected to commence "this spring".
Both the vehicles would be sold through the company's Nexa retail outlets.
On the semiconductor shortage issue, he said due to supply constraints models like Grand Vitara, Brezza, XL6 and Ertiga have big backlog orders.
"We expect from the fourth quarter of this financial year, the supply situation of semiconductors is getting better. So we think to some extent, we will be able to supply and reduce those backlog orders but that does not mean we can clear all those, as the backlog is huge," he added.
At present the company has a total order book of around 3.2 lakh units, down from around 4 lakh units last year.
He said Maruti Suzuki has also enhanced its production capacity by adding 1 lakh units per year at its Manesar plant, while the plant of Suzuki Motor Gujarat has also reached its peak capacity.
Last fiscal, the market share of Maruti Suzuki in the SUV space stood at just 10.9 per cent.
The lower share in the SUV market is seen as the reason for an overall drop in market share for the company in the passenger vehicle segment.
From 51 per cent in the fiscal year 2019, the market share dropped down to around 42 per cent in the second quarter of this fiscal year.