The Wagon R’s price, its functional looks, the revered Maruti Suzuki branding, have all contributed towards the elevation of this box shaped entry level hatchback into an iconic status. Same goes for the company’s other lower end offerings- the Alto (both the Alto 800 and the Alto K10), Celerio, the erstwhile Ritz and the Swift (the Swift is a premium hatchback but isn’t exuberantly priced). How is Maruti Suzuki consistently churning out such immediately successful cars?
Always the First-Maruti famously started the entry level hatchback revolution with the iconic Maruti 800. This hatchback offered the Indian public an alternative to the bulky and fuel guzzling Hindustan Ambassador and introduced the concept of a small, comfortable and fuel efficient family car. In later years, the company has replicated this formula to churn out segment initiating cars that sport timely automotive innovations and are produced via a very streamlined production strategy. Being first on the field has always worked to Maruti Suzuki’s advantage.
The Price is Right– To earn the tag of the ‘people’s car’ twice, first with the Maruti 800 and next with the Alto, the company has always relied on the strategy of pricing its products right. The Alto 800’s price of ? 2.67 – 4.05 Lacs belies the fact that the car itself is super value-for-money, highly fuel efficient and one of the favorites amongst a vast section of carbuyers who are on the lookout for well, a low priced, highly fuel efficient and industry lauded car. Again, the car is low priced and not ‘cheap’ in its classic sense, thanks to Maruti Suzuki’s excellent production standards.
Wide Network– Us Indians are very particular about after sales love, while most Indian businesses are guilty of ignoring this very important aspect of the sales experience. Maruti Suzuki has combatted this potential minefield by erecting the largest after sales network in India and backed it up with ready availability of spares, technologies and the know-how. No other carmaker, with the exception of Hyundai, has attained the level of after sales sophistication as flaunted by Maruti Suzuki. The combination of efficient affordable cars and an expert pan-India network of dealerships and company outlets has always worked in Maruti Suzuki’s favor.
The Killer Combination– The partnership between a premier Japanese carmaker and India’s biggest name when it comes to cars, has to produce magic of the automotive kind. Since coming together in 1981, the company has pulled off a lot of firsts in India, while also introducing the country to the comforts and benefits of a personal family hatchback. Maruti Suzuki is now synonymous with innovation, creativity and thoughtfulness when it comes to cars in India. Even when they arrive late at the scene (cue the Brezza and the booming compact SUV segment), Maruti Suzuki has the chops to pull off immediate success and dominate the market.
Thus, Maruti Suzuki is symbolic of an Indian company (in partnership with a very accomplished foreign firm of course) pulling up everything from their vast reaches of experience and expertise to make great family cars in the country. Even when it comes to the car’s price in India, few can compete with the carmaker’s strategy. Unless Maruti Suzuki seriously falters in terms of their overall quality, production standards and availability in the coming times, it will be difficult to dethrone this king of the Indian automotive scene.