In coming years it seems that Maruti might be able to have a product portfolio to cater to every Indian customer’s need (in mass market). Right now, with exception of ₹ 12 Lakhs+ segment, Maruti has covered all the bases in mass market segment, to be precise – 89%. Maruti has even started premium showroom concept called NEXA, to be future ready for premium products. ₹ 12 Lakhs+ products would be real test for NEXA showrooms; Ciaz anyways was doing well from regular Maruti showroom. In last 5 years Hyundai and Honda expanded their market coverage by bringing in products to cater newly emerged and fast growing segments (like compact SUV, sedan).
For apple to apple comparison of competitiveness, let us have a look at the market share of the only segments where the automaker has a presence. For example Mahindra KUV 100 caters to only one of the possible 4 segments of hatchback.
- It is surprising to see how Mahindra is the one who has lost its competitive edge big time in past 5 years. Scorpio (2002) and XUV 500 (2011) were game changing products but post that nothing is working for them. When other players started newer segment, Mahindra (TUV300 & KUV 100) failed to make a mark. Upcoming products (MUV-Innova rival, 4m monocoque SUV/Crossover-Brezza rival, 4.3m monocoque SUV/Crossover-Creta rival, Ssangyong Rexton) seems promising but competition is really fierce and Mahindra needs to be really good, to be in the game.
- Due to lackluster legacy products of 2009 and before, Tata has ceded lot of ground during past 5 years. Horizonext strategy (2013) is finally working for Tata now. Future product line seems promising. If they could turnaround Safari Storme just like Aria (to Hexa), they could beat Mahindra in its own game. Remember how Mahindra was caught off guard when Tata won the Government’s electric vehicle contract, fair and square.
- In last 5 years, Maruti has tightened its competitive grip in each and every segment it has its presence in and it started reflecting in competitor’s number, particularly Hyundai. However, given the Hyundai’s track record, upcoming 4m SUV/Crossover looks very promising and might help in big way to assert its dominance.
- India focused product development approach (Kwid) has improved the standing of Renault. However, to continue the momentum they need to stay focused. Product planning and positioning debacle, like Captur, has just derailed that momentum.
- Nothing was working for Nissan then, nor now. Perhaps they need to quickly bring in new Micra body styling, even if they choose older underpinning, as what Renault did for Captur. Given company’s global position it could have done better in India. They may end up like Chevrolet, only, if they wish to.
- Honda is finally shedding Brio platform which is good for their future. Amaze’s new design language borrowed from City might work well.
- With exception of Etios and Liva, Toyota has been very competitive in Indian Market, upcoming Yaris will certainly correct their past mistake.
- VW’s recent move to downsize the naturally aspirated petrol engine in fastest growing premium hatchback segment looks regressive competitive strategy. On paper performance figure is underwhelming. Potential buyers getting their numbers feed from internet, typically rely on paper figures. So, such a move in a segment which is predominantly petrol powered (75%+) is confounding. Japanese and Koreans are much better at making naturally aspirated petrol engine, at least on papers (power+torque+mileage), but on road performance and sales figure (observation : Mileage is directly proportional to sales figure) too corroborate this. If recently reported Skoda’s big Indian plan is pivoted on such engine (strategy) then perhaps in future Maruti, Hyundai and Tata have to wrestle among themselves in one of the fastest growing segment.
(The article is written by Rohan Rishi. You can connect with him at email@example.com)