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Dig deep in to the history of Maruti Suzuki cars and its success story

One of the earliest memories of any middle-class 90s kid is sitting in a Maruti Suzuki 800 car and having the best day of their life. Back in those days, Maruti Suzuki played a huge role in making cars accessible to everyone in India. The automobile company entered the market in 1981 and created history with its unique models and service. Every house had a Maruti Suzuki car and the brand became the most-trusted automobile label in no time.

Maruti Suzuki India is a subsidiary brand of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan. According to the reports dated September 2020, the Japanese car company holds around 56.37% of the stakes in the company. A look at the share price history of Maruti Suzuki, and you will see that the company has grown to be the largest passenger car company in India. It accounts for over 50% of the domestic car market in the country. Let’s dig a little deep and learn more about the Maruti Suzuki cars, the history of the automobile brand and its success in India.

The rich history of Maruti Suzuki India over all these years

Maruti Suzuki cars
Image Courtesy: Vignesh Rajendran/Unsplash

The need for cars grew rapidly in the 80s and Maruti Suzuki cashed on this opportunity by launching the company around the same time. The company started as a government commodity on 24 February 1981, with a mission to manufacture cars for middle-class Indians. Its major competitors were two other government-controlled automobile companies named Premier Automobiles Ltd (which had their popular car Premier Padmini) and Hindustan Motors Ltd (which made the Ambassador cars).

Launched as Maruti Udyog Ltd., Suzuki was a minor partner in the company initially. The business model changed a year later on 2 October 1982, when Maruti Udyog signed the license and a joint venture agreement with Suzuki Motor Corporation. This was just the beginning of a long-lasting and successful partnership.

Soon after the agreement, Maruti Suzuki cars started its production in 1983. The first car that Maruti Suzuki launched and created history with was the Maruti 800. The car was so affordable that it instantly became popular. Even now, after so many years, you might spot this car on the Indian roads.

History of Maruti Suzuki cars in 1983

Maruti Suzuki history
Image Courtesy: Rakshit Yadav/Unsplash

The very first factory of Maruti Suzuki was established in Gurgaon, Haryana. For the first two years, the Indian company was committed to importing fully-built cars from Suzuki. Contrary to their plans, the imports later grew to include only 33% of the native parts.

Maruti wanted to start its own manufacturing facility in India but feared that it would fail considering the small market here in the subcontinent. Many factors like inefficient local transport, increasing demands for fuel-efficient vehicles, petrol tax and excise duty also made them take a step back.

However, in December 1983, Maruti Suzuki India began its local production and introduced cars like Suzuki Alto (SS30/SS40), Suzuki Fronte, and Alto-based Maruti 800.

Service history of Maruti Suzuki over the years 1986-1987

Suzuki car
Image Courtesy: Kletr/Shutterstock

1986 was a milestone year for the company. Its service across the country was increasing and the company had successfully manufactured its 100,000th vehicle in the same year as well. They also launched the new and powerful Suzuki Alto (SS80), a 796 cc hatchback, replacing the former Maruti 800 model. It also began its foreign export and shipped a lot of 500 cars to Hungary.

Market liberalisation and the share price history of Maruti Suzuki in 1991

Maruti Suzuki cars
Image Courtesy:
Sergi Kabrera/Unsplash

India as a market was expanding and 1991 saw a big boom with the liberalisation of the economy. By this time, Maruti Suzuki had witnessed around 65 percent of its components dominating the market. Hence, the company further increased its stakes in Maruti. The government-owned section, Maruti Udyog, became a 50-50 joint venture with the Government of India and the Japanese automotive company as stakeholders.

Another milestone for the company in 1994

Maruti Suzuki history
Image Courtesy: Jeswin James/Unsplash

The automobile company crossed another milestone in 1994 as it witnessed the production of its 1 millionth vehicle. The company also inaugurated the second manufacturing plant and started its 24-hour on-road emergency vehicle service.

Maruti Suzuki and its success from 2000-2004

Car by Maruti Suzuki
Image Courtesy: Alex Meier/Unsplash

In 2000, the company became the first Indian car company to launch a call centre for its internal processes and customer service. New models were launched in the following two years including the Esteem Diesel. Suzuki Motor Corporation increased its stake in Maruti to 54.2% as well.

In 2003, India was introduced to a new car model called Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7. The company also upgraded its Zen and Wagon R models. It also manufactured its 4 millionth vehicle in 2003 and also entered a new partnership with the State Bank of India. The automobile company also got listed on BSE and NSE.

In 2004, their best-selling car, Maruti 800 was replaced by Alto in terms of popularity after 2 decades. Maruti Udyog sold as many as 472,122 units between 2003-2004, an all-time high for the company.

Government of India’s exit from the company

Maruti Suzuki cars
Image Courtesy: Aboodi Vesakaran/Unsplash

On May 10, 2007, the Government of India decided to exit the country’s largest car maker company. It sold the residual stakes worth INR 2,360 crores to a cluster of financial institutions led by the Life Insurance Corporation. In July 2007, Suzuki decided to change its subsidiary’s name to Maruti Suzuki India Limited.

Maruti Suzuki over the last decade

Image Courtesy: Karunesh Johri/Shutterstock

The company successfully sold its 10 millionth vehicle in February 2012. The share history of Maruti Suzuki also looked flourishing. It had a market share of 45% in July 2014 and then in May 2015, the production number rose to 15 million. Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire was also launched in the same year.

Being environmentally conscious, the automobile brand decided to phase out the manufacturing of diesel cars by April 2020. Bharat Stage VI emission standards were also in effect, and now the company is looking forward to launching electric cars this year. Maruti Suzuki WagonR Electric was the first electric car that they planned to launch in 2021, but it seems like the plans have been delayed.

More about Maruti Sazuki cars

Logo of the automobile company
Image Courtesy: AjayTvm/Shutterstock

The automobile brand has a wide range of cars to offer. From entry-level cars to contemporary hatchbacks and the chicest sedans, the company has it all. DZire, SX4, and Grand Vitara are some of the most popular cars by Maruti. The manufacturing, purchase, and sale of motor vehicles and their spare parts (automobiles) — all is taken care of by the company in India itself. The company is capable of manufacturing around 200 cars per day. It is also engaged in the financing of cars and the facilitation of pre-owned car sales fleet management. The company has 9 subsidiary companies in total. They also launched NEXA in 2015 and forayed into the operations of premium range cars.

Hero Image: Courtesy Adrian Balasoiu/Unsplash; Feature Image: Courtesy Anastasis Xatiras/Unsplash

Dig deep in to the history of Maruti Suzuki cars and its success story

Cinema has always fascinated Ananya, so much that she got a degree in media to know more about it. She has worked for magazines like Man's World India and CineBlitz as an entertainment writer. When not writing about films and celebrities, she likes to travel to new places or try new cuisines. Travel and Food are her latest interests and she is looking forward to explore these further.


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