In its bid to crack the big vehicle segment, Maruti Suzuki India, known for its small cars, is establishing a new setup of retail outlets under Nexa brand to sell premium products starting with its upcoming S-Cross model.
The company that has set a target of selling two million units annually by 2020 with around 25 models, expects the Nexa network to contribute a significant amount to its sales and will open 100 dealerships under it in 30 cities by the end of ongoing fiscal.
Its different dealerships have hired 700 people from other sectors like hospitality, aviation and financial services to offer a differentiated luxury car buying experience for its “discerning customers”.
“We have created a customer base of 1.5 crore in the three decades of our operations. Our customer profile is changing today and we not only need to offer new premium products so that they stay with us when they look to upgrade to bigger cars but also a different buying experience,” Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) R.S. Kalsi told PTI here.
Many of them are third generation customers, young achievers who are experienced car users, he added.
“That’s why we need to offer a differentiated buying experience to these customers. So we have hired people from other sectors like hospitality, aviation and financial services and will even provide personal relationship manager,” he added.
On the significance of Nexa and upcoming S-Cross, Mr. Kalsi said: “In order to extend our leadership we have to continuously find new segment and have to raise the bar. We have set a target of selling two million units annually by 2020 and these two new initiatives in 2015-16 are the first few steps in that direction.”
MSI has so far sold 3,41,329 units in the current fiscal till June, up 13.8 per cent from 2,99,894 units sold during the same period previous fiscal.
For the 2014-15 financial year, the company had posted its highest ever sales at 12,92,415 units, up 11.9 per cent, from 11,55,041 units in 2013-14. The previous high was in 2010-11, when the company had sold 12,71,005 units.
The company’s domestic sales during the last fiscal stood at 11,70,702 units, up 11.1 per cent, from 10,53,689 units in 2013-14 fiscal.
However, Maruti has struggled in the past to be as successful in big cars segment as it is in small cars. It only has sedan Ciaz in the big car portfolio at present.
When asked if the company would also start selling Ciaz from the Nexa network, Mr. Kalsi said “as of now the model will continue to be sold at the existing network”.
On the upcoming S-Cross, MSI Executive Director engineering C.V. Raman said the company has invested Rs. 600 crore in its development over a period of four years.
The crossover vehicle will be launched in first week of August and is expected to be priced around Rs. 10 lakh.
It will have two engine options of 1.6 litre and 1.3 litre diesel which the company is sourcing from Fiat under a license agreement.
On the company’s future big car plans, Mr. Kalsi said: “After Ciaz we have to go more into premium segment. We have a number of models in our R&D pipeline. We will be bringing in more models.”
2015 Kashmir Despatch