Maruti ramps up car production to bring down waiting period


Kolkata : After reporting lower sales for its inability to meet the boom in demand for diesel vehicles, country’s leading car maker Maruti Suzuki Friday said it is trying to bring down the waiting period for customers by ramping up production in its plants, including the Manesar unit.

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Due to labour unrest last year at the company’s Manesar plant, production of its popular Swift hatchback was badly affected. The company lost about 40,000 units in production in the October-December quarter due to the strike.

There is a boom in demand for diesel-powered cars, which now account for over a fourth of the passenger car sales in India, which is the second fastest growing auto market after China.

The country is witnessing a certain tilt over diesel version cars following widening gap between prices of petrol and diesel.

Maruti Suzuki reported a modest 5.2 percent increase in January sales on year-on-year basis at 115,433 vehicles due to successive interest rate hikes and rising petrol prices. The company’s inability to meet the increased demand for diesel vehicles has also led to the lower sales.

Currently waiting period for the customers of the company’s popular diesel variant models such as Swift, Ritz and SX4 is nearly three-and-half months on an average.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited chief general manager (marketing) Shashank Srivastava said the auto major would improve its production front to bring down the waiting period.

“We would like to reduce the waiting period. Last year, we were producing 4,000-odd Swift hatchbacks per month, this year we are producing 18,000, that is the four-times what we had been producing earlier… For DZire we were just producing 2,500 and 3,000 units earlier, now we are producing 8,000 to 9,000, that means we have tripled the production,” Srivastava said.

“We will improve the production front to bring down the waiting period,” he stated.

In order to increase production of more diesel vehicles, Suzuki and Italian car maker Fiat have recently inked a diesel engine supply deal. Fiat will supply one lakh 1.3 litre diesel engines to Maruti Suzuki for three years from January as per the deal.