Maruti bets on small car for foray into Gulf, SE Asia

Maruti bets on small car for foray into Gulf, SE Asia
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First Published: Wed, Jul 04 2007. 02 41 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 04 2007. 02 41 PM IST
New Delhi: Small is beautiful. This is the gospel that country’s largest car maker Maruti Udyog is trying to evangelise in its export markets — even to the sheikhs of the Arab world known for their penchant for fuel guzzling humongous SUVs, as it steps up to boost overseas sales.
The company, which has set an export target of around 220,000 units by 2010, is spreading into new markets like the UAE, where it has just started shipments of its best selling small car Alto, and Philippines and Indonesia.
Besides, MUL is also intensely focusing on penetrating deeper into the existing export market, where in many of the cases it is pitched against cheap imported second hand big cars.
“Our strategy has been to promote the small car and how a brand new fuel efficient vehicle is better and more environment-friendly than those second hand imported big cars through our distributors in those markets,” Maruti Udyog managing director Jagdish Khattar told PTI.
Already the strategy seems to be working for Maruti and this fiscal’s target of 50,000 units from exports is on track.
“In Saudi Arabia we were doing about just 250 units when we started, but we are targeting over 6,000 units,” he said.
Last fiscal MUL’s export to Saudi Arabia was 2,072 units of Alto. Similarly, in Morocco where the opened account with about 200 units, it is looking at selling over 2,000 units, he added.
Likewise, MUL is expecting to sell about 11,000 units in Algeria this fiscal and to the Latin American country of Chile it expect shipments to cross 6,100 units.
Khattar said when the company stopped exports to Europe in September 2005 following implementation of stricter emission norms, it had to intensify efforts in non-European markets, where emission standards were similar to India.
“So the Middle East, Latin America and Africa became the focus of our attention and we have been inviting distributors from those countries to see our operations and make them understand how we successfully sell cars in India,” he said.
In the past 15 months, about 160 odd people from different countries have visited in batches to see MUL’s plants, sales network, vendors and other mode of operations in the country.
“Those people have been made to understand the importance of having more sales people, widening of dealer network, customer satisfaction and availability of finance,” MUL general manager, international marketing, Rajesh Singh said.
Gradually, the overseas partners have been encouraged to carry out more ground-level activities like free servicing, loan ‘mela’ (fairs) and exchanges and also to have more stocks, Singh said, adding those activities were paying off.
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First Published: Wed, Jul 04 2007. 02 41 PM IST
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