We are trying to develop rural markets: Kenichi Ayukawa

Q&A with managing director, chief executive officer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

Kenichi Ayukawa, a veteran at Suzuki Motor Corporation, has assumed charge at the Indian subsidiary at a time when vehicle have hit a decade-low mark. The recently anointed MD and CEO tells Sharmistha Mukherjee and N Sundaresha Subramanian, how he intends to extend the company’s reach and realize the dream of his predecessor by attaining over 50% share in the domestic market over the next few years. Maruti Suzuki would also play a larger role in the parent’s global operations as it takes charge of production and marketing of vehicles for developing markets under Ayukawa’s leadership. Edited excerpts: 
 
Its been a few months at the helm of Maruti Suzuki now. How has the road so far been?

It is a big honour for me to drive the management of the company. I believe Indian market has a very high potential. I want to make it strong production wise and quality wise.

You have assumed charge at a time when sales in the automobile industry is at a decade low mark. Even sales of best selling models such as Swift, DZire and Ertiga, which have seen you through most of last financial year, are now falling. Any initiatives you have taken to reverse this?

We have to review the system. As long as you have good products, consumers buy them But now the sentiment has changed. We have to persuade the customers to make purchases. How we approach the customers has become important. We are trying to develop the rural markets. We are reaching out to newer areas by including our dealers in the process. We conducted events in rural areas, small towns. The events helped a lot in encouraging demand. We allowed people to touch, feel and drive our products. Such things encourage demand.

Any particular product which seeing strong traction in rural areas…

What I have seen is that the first time buyer is usually interested in the M800, Alto 800, Alto K10. Some people are also going for more premium cars like Swift.

Maruti Suzuki usually introduces one new product in the market every year. There has been none so far this year. Are you being cautious and changing the trend?

No. We are not changing anything. This year just started. There are nine months left. You can expect something. A new small car is likely to come in. We would continue to upgrade existing models.

General Motors recently recalled 114,000 units of the Tavera in India after an internal probe revealed executives had re-fitted pre-approved engines on test vehicles. How are these things getting through the system?

What I see in the newspapers unbelievable. 

Probably, a government committee needs to check the dimensions of this issue. I cannot understand why these things happen. Emission norms have to be complied with.

As Maruti Suzuki acquires a larger role in Suzuki’s global operations, what kind of synergies would we see with the parent company?

In future, may be in India we have to take care of new products for developing markets. We have to do marketing for these countries by ourselves. Our product and supply teams here take care of markets in Africa and West Asia.

Maruti Suzuki is in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art R&D centre in Rohtak. Would the Indian engineering team can take the lead and develop vehicles from scratch in future?

Yes. I think so. First we have to develop our engineering capabilities. That is very important. Our engineers have gone to Japan and to other countries also for training programmes. It will happen over time.

There is a criticism Maruti Suzuki despite operating in India for nearly 30 years now does not have Indians at the board level. Are there any efforts to change that?

Already, 13-14 Indian people are involved in our management. In case of Japanese, they are tentative. They come for three to five years. Indian people stay. We have Sudham Maitra for supply chain management, H Siddiqui for administration, M M Singh in charge of production processes.

Your predecessor said he wanted Maruti Suzuki to attain 50% share in the domestic automobile market. He said it was his dream. What is your target?

I also think so. If possible we will enhance it. 

What is your number? 

Laughs. I said we will enhance. 

image
Business Standard
177 22
Business Standard

We are trying to develop rural markets: Kenichi Ayukawa

Q&A with managing director, chief executive officer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

Sharmistha Mukherjee & N Sundaresha Subramanian  |  New Delhi 



Kenichi Ayukawa, a veteran at Suzuki Motor Corporation, has assumed charge at the Indian subsidiary at a time when vehicle have hit a decade-low mark. The recently anointed MD and CEO tells Sharmistha Mukherjee and N Sundaresha Subramanian, how he intends to extend the company’s reach and realize the dream of his predecessor by attaining over 50% share in the domestic market over the next few years. Maruti Suzuki would also play a larger role in the parent’s global operations as it takes charge of production and marketing of vehicles for developing markets under Ayukawa’s leadership. Edited excerpts: 
 
Its been a few months at the helm of Maruti Suzuki now. How has the road so far been?

It is a big honour for me to drive the management of the company. I believe Indian market has a very high potential. I want to make it strong production wise and quality wise.

You have assumed charge at a time when sales in the automobile industry is at a decade low mark. Even sales of best selling models such as Swift, DZire and Ertiga, which have seen you through most of last financial year, are now falling. Any initiatives you have taken to reverse this?

We have to review the system. As long as you have good products, consumers buy them But now the sentiment has changed. We have to persuade the customers to make purchases. How we approach the customers has become important. We are trying to develop the rural markets. We are reaching out to newer areas by including our dealers in the process. We conducted events in rural areas, small towns. The events helped a lot in encouraging demand. We allowed people to touch, feel and drive our products. Such things encourage demand.

Any particular product which seeing strong traction in rural areas…

What I have seen is that the first time buyer is usually interested in the M800, Alto 800, Alto K10. Some people are also going for more premium cars like Swift.

Maruti Suzuki usually introduces one new product in the market every year. There has been none so far this year. Are you being cautious and changing the trend?

No. We are not changing anything. This year just started. There are nine months left. You can expect something. A new small car is likely to come in. We would continue to upgrade existing models.

General Motors recently recalled 114,000 units of the Tavera in India after an internal probe revealed executives had re-fitted pre-approved engines on test vehicles. How are these things getting through the system?

What I see in the newspapers unbelievable. 

Probably, a government committee needs to check the dimensions of this issue. I cannot understand why these things happen. Emission norms have to be complied with.

As Maruti Suzuki acquires a larger role in Suzuki’s global operations, what kind of synergies would we see with the parent company?

In future, may be in India we have to take care of new products for developing markets. We have to do marketing for these countries by ourselves. Our product and supply teams here take care of markets in Africa and West Asia.

Maruti Suzuki is in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art R&D centre in Rohtak. Would the Indian engineering team can take the lead and develop vehicles from scratch in future?

Yes. I think so. First we have to develop our engineering capabilities. That is very important. Our engineers have gone to Japan and to other countries also for training programmes. It will happen over time.

There is a criticism Maruti Suzuki despite operating in India for nearly 30 years now does not have Indians at the board level. Are there any efforts to change that?

Already, 13-14 Indian people are involved in our management. In case of Japanese, they are tentative. They come for three to five years. Indian people stay. We have Sudham Maitra for supply chain management, H Siddiqui for administration, M M Singh in charge of production processes.

Your predecessor said he wanted Maruti Suzuki to attain 50% share in the domestic automobile market. He said it was his dream. What is your target?

I also think so. If possible we will enhance it. 

What is your number? 

Laughs. I said we will enhance. 

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

We are trying to develop rural markets: Kenichi Ayukawa

Q&A with managing director, chief executive officer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

Kenichi Ayukawa, a veteran at Suzuki Motor Corporation, has assumed charge at the Indian subsidiary at a time when vehicle sales have hit a decade-low mark. The recently anointed MD and CEO tells Sharmistha Mukherjee and N Sundaresha Subramanian, how he intends to extend the company's reach and realize the dream of his predecessor by attaining over 50% share in the domestic market over the next few years. Maruti Suzuki would also play a larger role in the parent's global operations as it takes charge of production and marketing of vehicles for developing markets under Ayukawa's leadership. Edited excerpts:
Kenichi Ayukawa, a veteran at Suzuki Motor Corporation, has assumed charge at the Indian subsidiary at a time when vehicle have hit a decade-low mark. The recently anointed MD and CEO tells Sharmistha Mukherjee and N Sundaresha Subramanian, how he intends to extend the company’s reach and realize the dream of his predecessor by attaining over 50% share in the domestic market over the next few years. Maruti Suzuki would also play a larger role in the parent’s global operations as it takes charge of production and marketing of vehicles for developing markets under Ayukawa’s leadership. Edited excerpts: 
 
Its been a few months at the helm of Maruti Suzuki now. How has the road so far been?

It is a big honour for me to drive the management of the company. I believe Indian market has a very high potential. I want to make it strong production wise and quality wise.

You have assumed charge at a time when sales in the automobile industry is at a decade low mark. Even sales of best selling models such as Swift, DZire and Ertiga, which have seen you through most of last financial year, are now falling. Any initiatives you have taken to reverse this?

We have to review the system. As long as you have good products, consumers buy them But now the sentiment has changed. We have to persuade the customers to make purchases. How we approach the customers has become important. We are trying to develop the rural markets. We are reaching out to newer areas by including our dealers in the process. We conducted events in rural areas, small towns. The events helped a lot in encouraging demand. We allowed people to touch, feel and drive our products. Such things encourage demand.

Any particular product which seeing strong traction in rural areas…

What I have seen is that the first time buyer is usually interested in the M800, Alto 800, Alto K10. Some people are also going for more premium cars like Swift.

Maruti Suzuki usually introduces one new product in the market every year. There has been none so far this year. Are you being cautious and changing the trend?

No. We are not changing anything. This year just started. There are nine months left. You can expect something. A new small car is likely to come in. We would continue to upgrade existing models.

General Motors recently recalled 114,000 units of the Tavera in India after an internal probe revealed executives had re-fitted pre-approved engines on test vehicles. How are these things getting through the system?

What I see in the newspapers unbelievable. 

Probably, a government committee needs to check the dimensions of this issue. I cannot understand why these things happen. Emission norms have to be complied with.

As Maruti Suzuki acquires a larger role in Suzuki’s global operations, what kind of synergies would we see with the parent company?

In future, may be in India we have to take care of new products for developing markets. We have to do marketing for these countries by ourselves. Our product and supply teams here take care of markets in Africa and West Asia.

Maruti Suzuki is in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art R&D centre in Rohtak. Would the Indian engineering team can take the lead and develop vehicles from scratch in future?

Yes. I think so. First we have to develop our engineering capabilities. That is very important. Our engineers have gone to Japan and to other countries also for training programmes. It will happen over time.

There is a criticism Maruti Suzuki despite operating in India for nearly 30 years now does not have Indians at the board level. Are there any efforts to change that?

Already, 13-14 Indian people are involved in our management. In case of Japanese, they are tentative. They come for three to five years. Indian people stay. We have Sudham Maitra for supply chain management, H Siddiqui for administration, M M Singh in charge of production processes.

Your predecessor said he wanted Maruti Suzuki to attain 50% share in the domestic automobile market. He said it was his dream. What is your target?

I also think so. If possible we will enhance it. 

What is your number? 

Laughs. I said we will enhance. 
image
Business Standard
177 22
Widgets Magazine

More News

Widgets Magazine
Widgets Magazine

Upgrade To Premium Services

Welcome User

Business Standard is happy to inform you of the launch of "Business Standard Premium Services"

As a premium subscriber you get an across device unfettered access to a range of services which include:

  • Access Exclusive content - articles, features & opinion pieces
  • Weekly Industry/Genre specific newsletters - Choose multiple industries/genres
  • Access to 17 plus years of content archives
  • Set Stock price alerts for your portfolio and watch list and get them delivered to your e-mail box
  • End of day news alerts on 5 companies (via email)
  • NEW: Get seamless access to WSJ.com at a great price. No additional sign-up required.
 

Premium Services

In Partnership with

 

Dear Guest,

 

Welcome to the premium services of Business Standard brought to you courtesy FIS.
Kindly visit the Manage my subscription page to discover the benefits of this programme.

Enjoy Reading!
Team Business Standard