Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) is doubling down on its plan to become the vehicle of choice for a more urban and affluent Indian. The New Delhi-headquartered automaker will open 57 Nexa showrooms, its premium outlets, by March 2025 as the demand for its top-end vehicles continues to increase, Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer (marketing & sales), said on Thursday. Currently, there are 468 Nexa outlets in the country, with the first one opened in Dwarka, New Delhi, in July, 2015.
About 31.9 per cent of MSIL's total sales till July this year have come from Nexa, up from 22.4 per cent for the whole of 2022-23 (FY23), Srivastava told Business Standard. The country’s largest carmaker currently sells the top eight of its 17 passenger vehicle (PV) models via Nexa showrooms — Baleno, Ignis, Grand Vitara, Jimny, Fronx, Ciaz, Invicto, and XL6. The remaining nine PV models are sold through the company’s 2,842 Arena outlets. It also sells one commercial vehicle, Super Carry, through separate commercial outlets.
The last few years have seen MSIL increase its focus on gaining a higher presence in the utility vehicle (UV) segment, which is recording the fastest growth. The company launched Grand Vitara, Jimny, Fronx and Invicto (it’s first car priced above Rs 20 lakh) in this segment during the last couple of years.
This helped MSIL increase its share in the UV segment to 23.12 per cent in the first quarter of FY24, compared to 17.4 per cent in the corresponding period a year ago, according to the data from vehicle manufacturer’s body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
“The idea of Nexa was to bring a new type of consumer for MSIL,” Srivastava said.
“MSIL was known primarily for reliability, quality, large network, low cost of maintenance, and great value for money. As the economy was growing, we realised there is a class of consumers who had a different purchase criteria,” and for whom design, features and technology mattered more than price or fuel efficiency, he added.
“These were globally connected and slightly more urban individuals, what we called ‘New India’...We have not left aside Bharat, but at the same time, we have been hugely successful in this ‘New India’ through Nexa,” he added.
An average Nexa customer as compared to that of Arena’s is a little younger, a little more urban, with a slightly higher average monthly household income (about Rs 90,000 for a Nexa client, compared to Rs 65,000 for an Arena customer), said Srivastava.
In July, among all sales channels in the Indian auto industry, Nexa reached the number two position. Arena, Hyundai, Tata Motors and Nexa, were the top four sales channels in the auto industry in FY22. “We hope that this good run will continue,” Srivastava, who’s spent more than three decades at the firm, added.
MSIL could offer about 28 different models, including six electric vehicles (EVs), by FY31, Chairman R C Bhargava had said in the company’s annual report released earlier this month.
Currently, the firm sells 18 different models. Bhargava said that the Indian car industry was expected to grow at a six per cent annual growth rate till FY31.
He noted that the company was starting its third phase of growth called Maruti 3.0. “The challenges before the company are unprecedented. It took us 40 years to create a capacity of 2 million units and SMC (Suzuki Motor Corporation) helped in this process by establishing the Gujarat facility. Your company now has to add the next 2 million in a period of 9 years,” Bhargava had said.