Maruti plans to bring more products with hybrid technology

New Delhi:┬áCountry’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) plans to bring more products with hybrid technology over the next few years as concern for safeguarding environment increases in India.

The auto major, which is facing capacity constraint, is also expediting the process to operationalise its upcomingGujarat plant by early next year and start selling vehicles produced from the plant within this fiscal.

“As a market leader and a responsible corporate citizen, we are fully sensitive to our duty towards the environment. We were the first ones to launch mild hybrid products with reasonably good volumes. This process of hybridisation will be expanded further in the next few years,” MSI Manging Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said in his address to shareholders in the company’s Annual Report for 2015-16.

MSI is providing factory fitted CNG cars and is making efforts to expand their penetration, he added. Currently the company offers mild hybrid technology in Ertiga MPV and premium sedan Ciaz.

Stating that the company is facing a capacity constraint, he said: “The Gujarat plant commissioning is being expedited and may start operations by early 2017.”

The company has a manufacturing capacity of 15 lakh units in its two plants in Gurgaon and Manesar. Currently, Baleno has a waiting period of 6-7 months while Vitara Brezza has a waiting period of around 8-9 months, depending upon variants.

The Gujarat plant will have an annual production capacity of 2.5 lakh units in the first phase which could be ramped up to 15 lakh units going ahead.

On new light commercial vehicles business, Ayukawa said: “We have put in place a dedicated organisation to help us identify and acquire sites for our own retail space from a long term derisking point of view.”

MSI is also making efforts to expand its exports to markets across the globe.

“We are making a lot of market development efforts in exports so that in the next few years we are on a strong footing to provide cars to many countries of the world from India,” he said.

Baleno became the first car manufactured by the company to be sold in Japan. The vehicle is also exported to Europe and many other markets across the world.

On upcoming R&D centre at Rohtak, Ayukawa said: “The first few facilities are have been commissioned and in the coming three years will witness more expansion. If we can design and develop in India we will get global competitiveness in technology, cost and quality much faster. That will be our next step – Create in India.
The company is also aligning all its processes and

operations including supply chain to keep enhancing the quality of manufacturing, he added.

On rapidly growing SUV and crossover segment, Ayukawa said the market response has been very good for its products Vitara Brezza and S-Cross.

“We hope to attain a healthy market share of the UV/SUV segment. Similarly we are encouraged by the market response to the Ciaz in the premium car segment,” he added.