According to Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India, we are currently at an inflection point from which we can substantially accelerate our development and leadership journey. Due to geopolitical events, India has become the country of options for multinationals seeking to de-risk their supply chain.
What is the future of EVs in India? Can they become mainstream? What are the advantages and challenges?
The Indian EV industry witnessed a remarkable one million EV sales in FY22-23. However, these numbers are primarily accounted for by two-wheelers, three-wheelers and small commercial vehicles. For the passenger car industry, the contribution of EVs was less than 1%. The adoption of EVs in the passenger car segment will happen at a much steadier rate owing to high prices of EVs, short cruising range leading to range anxiety and lack of charging infrastructure. Since emissions standards are tightening globally, including in India, there is an industry consensus that EVs will become mainstream. However, it is safe to say that the transition to a pure EV automotive industry will be a gradual one, as the whole ecosystem including establishment of a charging network and the entire national power grid is prepared to deal with EVs. This is why, we at Maruti Suzuki are taking a holistic approach of developing the whole ecosystem from introducing the born electric vehicles to cell level localization and setting up charging infrastructure.
In the recently concluded Auto-Expo’23, we displayed our eVX Electric SUV concept, which will be our first electric vehicle that will be launched in FY24-25. This will spearhead our plan of launching 6 EVs by 2030. Furthermore, Suzuki Motor Corporation has announced the investment of `100 billion to kickstart the production of automotive battery packs for BEVbatteries in India.
So, as the nation progresses towards the Government of India’s target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2070, our modus operandi is reducing vehicular emission by exploring and introducing a range of environment friendly technologies like Hybrids, CNG, Bio-CNG, flex-fuel, and electric vehicles across segments.
How important is 5G and connectivity in popularizing smart vehicles? Do they fare better than normal vehicles and can we hope to integrate them into a smart traffic grid and smart city?
It is all but imperative to understand the influence of 5G and connectivity on the automotive industry. These technologies are the precursor to popularizing smart cars and bringing about a revolutionary shift in how we drive. With 5G technology, smart cars can communicate seamlessly with each other and the infrastructure, resulting in safer, more efficient, and more comfortable transportation.
Smart vehicles are the future of the automotive industry providing unmatched performance, convenience and features. They can integrate effortlessly with smart traffic networks and smart cities, substantially reducing traffic congestion, emissions and accidents. In turn, smart vehicles can also provide authorities with vital data for improved urban planning and optimization.
While that is the future, we have been leveraging 5G in its early stages in the country to better serve our customers in as quick a manner as possible. Our virtual showrooms of ARENAVerse and NEXAVerse allow customers to visit our car showrooms from anywhere in the world and check out our exhaustive range of products. The flexibility to do so from smartphones, laptops and VR headsets gives customers great flexibility.
Maruti Suzuki recognizes the significance of connectivity and is committed to incorporating intelligent technologies into its vehicles. As we continue to innovate, we aim to create a sustainable, smart and connected future for everyone.
How important are chips in the future of the automobile industry and are we ready for future shortages?
The automobile industry is undergoing a technology-led seismic shift, and semiconductor chips are at the forefront of this transformation. With cutting-edge features becoming democratized, the role of chips in powering these systems cannot be stressed enough.
The recent global chip shortage has brought into sharp focus the importance of having a resilient and adaptable supply chain. The current ecosystem has taught us that one cannot do crystal ball gazing when it comes to such issues, and here, what is critical is how companies act in an agile manner and respond to market forces with strategy and planning.
At Maruti Suzuki, we worked closely with our suppliers which further aided us in minimizing the overall impact of the issue.
How is Maruti Suzuki using the latest technologies in their manufacturing process and all their vehicles? What is your roadmap for the next decade?
At Maruti Suzuki, we are driven by our passion for democratizing technology to spread the joy of mobility and empower our customers, while providing the best possible driving experiences. In order to do to, we constantly strive to integrate the latest advancements into our manufacturing processes to increase efficiency and produce vehicles with the utmost precision. One of the cutting-edge technologies we have successfully integrated into our manufacturing process is robotics and automation, enabling us to produce vehicles with unparalleled precision and efficiency. We have also implemented advanced inspection systems to ensure that our vehicles meet the highest reliability, quality and safety standards.
We have evolved for the last four decades with an objective to make our innovations accessible to everyone. Our array of technologies include Strong Hybrid, Smart Hybrid, S-CNG, K-Series Engines, HEARTECT platform, Suzuki Connect telematics solution, and a range of automatic transmissions, to name a few.
We have a promising roadmap for the future where our primary focus for the current year is to secure the pole position in SUVs. We aim to capture a 25% share of the rapidly expanding Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) market, to more than double our share by the end of the current fiscal year.
All of the above feature strongly in the government’s India2047 Mission. Are we ready and can we transform the nation’s transportation system by 2047?
India is currently at an inflection point from which we can substantially accelerate our development and leadership journey. Due to geopolitical events, India has become the country of options for multinational corporations seeking to de-risk their supply chain. The government’s emphasis on fortifying the manufacturing sector through the PLI schemes and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ is a positive development.
With this backdrop, there are solid grounds for believing that India’s 2047 mission will soon become a reality. Subsequently, it is safe to assert that, with the continued support of the Indian government, we would have made significant green transformation strides in our transportation sector by 2047, making it more sustainable, connected and safe.