At a time when several car manufacturers are unveiling their electric cars to hit the roads in coming months, Kenichi Ayukawa, MD and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd told The Indian Express that there are not enough customers for electric vehicles and there is not much interest for EVs that are too expensive. Stating that MSIL will focus on small mass EV, he said that industry sales, which have been under pressure for over a year now, should start improving after April once the transition to BSVI is complete and there is an uptick in economy.
While your sales numbers are stabilising, when do you see revival in sales growth?
We have been growing in double digits in the past and, in the short term, it is difficult to regain those kinds of growth rates but right now we are stable as compared to last year. We expect some pick-up in sales after April, however, we are not sure how exactly things may shape out. February and March are expected to be very tough for the industry because we have to get the transition completed from BSIV to BSVI. After that the market may stabilise and it may revive a bit. We also plan to bring new products after that and may lead to an uptick in growth.
I, however, think that the economic condition of the country holds the key. Everyone is a bit concerned about the future and are hesitating to participate in the new products. If the government encourages people, and the economy improves then we can expect volumes to return to the industry.
This year at the Auto Expo we have seen some companies launching their EVs but many are still showing concept vehicles. Do you think there is still a lot of anxiety around whether we are ready as a market and will it work?
When we look at the market, we can’t find the customer for the electric vehicles. While the environment is not completely ready, the technology itself is developing. I think a time will come which will demand that we need to be ready with EV product and then we will launch it in the market. We will develop in time. We thought of some product initially but on the business aspect it was not feasible. The key is that the customer does not want to buy and we can’t push the customer. When we see that the market is getting ready for the product, we will prepare and come out with it and we should be able to do that in couple years time. As of now, all factors are unknown.
My point is that in case of EVs most of the people are coming with their high-priced-vehicles and then are gradually going down, we will mainly focus on the small vehicle — a mass product. People are not too much interested in products that are too expensive.
How do you see the entry of so many Chinese companies in the market?
We can’t close the door for anyone. Everyone can come to the market and as they come we have to compete. However, I am not sure if they are seriously considering developing business in India. If they show that they are building factory, doing production of cars and delivering it into the market, I think, it is fine. As of now we are seeing just the launch of vehicles.
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