No delay expected in Maruti Suzuki’s 2025 EV entry due to low penetration: Chairman RC Bhargava

Bhargava also revealed that it was one of the first automakers to start focusing on EVs by developing an electric version of the WagonR hatchback. However, it did not launch the e-WagonR commercially as the company did not find it a “viable proposition”.

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), which is preparing to introduce six electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of the decade, believes it is not too late to enter battery-powered vehicles. MSIL Chairman RC Bhargava believes it has enough time as EV penetration is less than two per cent of the total passenger vehicle (PV) market.

“It’s not like someone has gone and taken a huge market share and we have been left behind. Next year it will be two percent and then we will be in the (EV) market. What is it that we are slow in,” Bhargava said during a fireside chat session titled ‘Reinventing Maruti: Continuity with Change’ at an event organized by the All India Management Association (AIMA) on September 26.

Bhargava also revealed that it was one of the first automakers to start focusing on EVs by developing an electric version of the WagonR hatchback. However, it did not launch the e-WagonR commercially as the company did not find it a “viable proposition”. Eventually, it started working on a larger-sized model called ‘EVX’, which is a ground-up EV and will be launched by 2025.

“I think by the time we get into the market with electric cars, there will likely be a fair amount of sales,” Bhargava said. He had earlier revealed that the price of his first electric car will not be less than Rs 10 lakh.

When asked about the reason behind coming up with six models, Bhargava said, “By 2030, car sales in the domestic market will be close to six and a half to 7 million cars (per year). If we want to have 45 to 50 percent (share) in the market, we cannot do it with one or two models. We must have a large number of models for the type of volume you want. And we think six models are the minimum required. “Even with six models, we think only 15 to 20 percent of our sales will be electric vehicles by 2030.”

Meanwhile, MSIL is aiming for complete indigenization of its entire lineup. While the passenger vehicle (PV) market leader is still dependent on imports for some critical components, especially semiconductor chips, Bhargava believes that once domestic electronics manufacturing grows, the country can reduce its dependence on foreign markets. Can do.

“Today, almost all the electronics used in cars are being imported. There is no real electronics (manufacturing) industry in India. So to make the supply chain more reliable and stable for India, I think what the government is doing – bringing electronic manufacturers, especially semiconductor manufacturers into the country – is one of the very essential requirements,” Bhargava revealed. Did.

Bhargava also talked about how Maruti set new standards and processes and showed new ways of building supply chains.

“We have a strong supply chain, (but) our weakness is that there are some new technologies – internal components of assembly – which are not being manufactured in India and we need people (companies) to come here and manufacture. Is. The biggest area (to look at) is semiconductors,” he said.

Over the past few years, MSIL has been focusing on high-margin premium offerings such as the Baleno, XL6, Grand Vitara, Jimny, Ciaz, Invicto and Frontex, which are available for retail in its Nexa chain of outlets. Unlike its low-cost product lines, all of the above models are equipped with connected car features and other technologies that are based on multiple semiconductor chips.

“Every carmaker will have to bring more component manufacturers to India. So that India can not only become self-reliant in its own supply chain, but also become an integral part of the global supply chain for many other countries who are looking for something other than China,” Bhargava said.

Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for a self-reliant nation in terms of manufacturing products in the country, it may be a long road for the automobile industry to align with that vision. The automobile sector, which contributes 7.1 per cent to overall GDP and 49 per cent to manufacturing GDP, is still dependent on countries like China and Taiwan for sourcing some critical inputs such as semiconductors and battery cells.

Talking about the capabilities of the domestic supply chain, MSIL Chairman said, “One of the essence of the Indian car industry is the way the component industry has evolved over the years. The component industry is not only supplying to India but also exporting to markets across the world. I think exports have increased, about $20 billion worth of components are exported from India.

He further said that the availability of semiconductors is improving and there will be negligible impact on its production.

“At the moment, there is no real disruption on the semiconductor front. In the second half of this year starting from October, I do not think our production will be affected due to any shortage of semiconductors. So I think you can rest assured that if you are planning to buy a car, it will not be delayed because of semiconductors,” Bhargava stressed.

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