Unless affordable, people won’t buy electric cars: Maruti Suzuki India MD

Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, was promoting hybrid technology through mildly hybrid cars. The taxes on these vehicles, however, have been put at a steep 43 per cent under the new goods and services tax (GST), causing price hike and volume concerns. Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and chief executive officer, on the policy thinking and response. Edited excerpts of a talk with Ajay Modi:

How is Maruti Suzuki changing its strategy to get more customers?

In our 35-year journey here, our goal has been to provide good cars to customers at affordable prices. Indian demand is changing — customers now look forward to new technologies and vehicles. We have to work on these areas. Half of car buyers are still not our customers.

Maruti Suzuki is focusing on the use of digital technology at showrooms to give buyers a better purchase experience. How can such a strategy work in rural markets?

We cannot make big showrooms in small markets and display all the cars. We can use digital to make the customer familiar with the product and help them make a purchase decision.

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