The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki, which has been spearheading the domestic passenger vehicle market selling 1,643,467 units with a lion’s share of 49.98 percent in FY2017-18. The company now has set a target to double its sales to 3 million units by 2025.
Addressing the shareholders meet, R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki said, “Global events have highlighted the importance of devising and implementing a long-term mobility policy. Political events have shown how fragile energy security is and how easily the price and supply of oil can be adversely affected for importing countries like us. The rising price of crude has considerably increased the burden on our balance of trade. The Government’s decision to push electric vehicles to replace internal combustion engine driven vehicles was essentially designed to reduce the risks associated with the import of crude from a few countries.”
Bhargava stated that the quantum of imports is projected to increase steadily as the economy grows and the need for mobility becomes larger and larger. Even though pollution from cars is still a very small part of the total pollution, this position would change as car ownership grows over the next two decades. “Clearly, the country needs to think long term and develop a strategy that would mitigate these risks, both in the short term and the long term. The Indian car market is unique in that 75 percent of the cars sold are sub-4 metres in length and cost under Rs 650,000 at factory level.”
He stated while there is a need to consider electrification of these vehicles in the short-term in terms of affordability as well as the creation of the required charging infrastructure all over the country. He said that in the long term these cars would be electrified, which will be dependent on the development of the battery and other technologies, leading to the affordability barrier being overcome.
Bhargava said with gradual increase in the percentage of electrified vehicles, a very large number of internal combustion engine vehicles would also be produced to meet the total demand. It would obviously be better to use alternative technologies and fuels that reduce the consumption of petrol and diesel, rather than produce only electric cars and internal combustion cars. He reiterated his position on CNG vehicles, which is a clean fuel already being used and its usage can expand subject to the distribution network expanding. It would be a good intermediate step. He said that bio-fuels such as ethanol and methanol hold promise, and hybrid technology was also available.