Medilytix Bureau: The moonshot goal was to reach the full capacity of 100,000 units in eight years. It seemed impossible, but 40 years later, Maruti Suzuki is expected to deliver its two-millionth vehicle this fiscal. RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, who has been associated with the company throughout its journey, says it was possible due to a consistent focus on quality, low-cost manufacturing, high productivity, and trust between partners, management, and workers.

It’s the car that kick-started the mass personal mobility movement in India, and it still has a market share of 43%, though that has declined, with more and more brands entering the market. “It doesn’t disturb us—a temporary loss in market share or profitability,” says Bhargava.
Maruti Suzuki has always bet on the aam aadmi of India, or perhaps Bharat, and their appetite for wheels has helped it grow from the first-year sales of 852 vehicles in 1983-84 to 1.6 million vehicles in 2021-22.

Its lead agency at the launch was Rediffusion, helmed by Arun Nanda, which came up with the name and designed the “wings” logo to symbolise mobility. “The fear was that it could be a non-starter, too small a brand and not fit for Indian roads,” Nanda told ET. But the Maruti 800, the first model to roll off the line, had a waiting list and spots were sold at a premium as the demand was enormous.

Maruti has also helped create thousands of entrepreneurs in the retail, manufacturing and aftermarket space. “In its shade has grown an industry and entrepreneurship which is the driving force of Indian manufacturing,” says Sanjay Labroo, MD & CEO, Asahi India, who has been a supplier to Maruti for almost 38 years.

Maruti helped develop an ecosystem of auto services — spares, accessories, insurance, finance, even driving schools, says John K Paul, director, Popular Vehicles, the company’s first dealer in Kerala, which now operates 200 outlets in the south.

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