With sales of nearly 360,000, Maruti is the highest volume car manufacturer in Asia, outside Japan and Korea. It continues to straddle the Indian market with a 55 per cent market share (Hyundai is the nearest competitor with a 20 per cent share) even though Maruti’s owner Suzuki Motor Corporation isn’t considered a world leader in passenger cars in other global markets.
Maruti’s accomplishment has been equally significant for two other reasons.
- First, the run-away hit of the Maruti 800 cc car in the 1980s and the early 1990s, convinced international automotive companies like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and Hyundai about the depth and potential of the Indian passenger car market. It also inculcated belief in other Indian auto companies like Tata and Mahindra that they too could diversity into passenger vehicle ventures.
- Equally important, the rise of Maruti shaped the growth of the Indian auto component industry, and the Indo-Japanese venture can claim most of the credit for spawning the auto component cluster in north India.
- The lessons and best practices from the north Indian cluster have been seamlessly transferred to create two other auto clusters— the first in south India which supplies to Hyundai and Ford, and the other in west India which supports Tata and General Motors.