KATHMANDU, June16: Shashank Srivastava is the executive director, International Marketing and Product Planning, of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. Srivastava talked with Sujan Dhungana of Republica about the auto-maker’s market in Nepal, its prospects and challenges.
Maruti Suzuki is the leading automobile brand in the Nepali market. We have been in the number one position here for the last 30 years. This proves that we have been doing better than everyone else in the Nepali market. However, it is also a fact that markets keeps evolving. This is why we need to be on our toes and take possible measures ensure that we continue to grow faster in the market and, therefore, increase market share of Maruti Suzuki.
You mentioned that Maruti Suzuki is the leading market player in Nepal’s automobile sector. How challenging is it to sustain the pole position, especially when competition is increasing?
Yes. The market in Nepal is competitive as there are a number of international vehicle brands like Ford, Hyundai, Nissan, Skoda, Volkswagen, Mahindra, Tata and others. The presence of such brands means a tough market environment for us. However, we continue to grow even further and remain in the number one position.
Maruti Suzuki’s first pillar of sustainability is its product variants -- which we keep rolling out in the market. Secondly, Maruti Suzuki is highly consumer focused as we believe that market share cannot be developed without being focused on the needs of the customer.
Good network is another pillar of Maruti Suzuki in Nepal. In fact we have largest network in Nepal -- with 30 outlets across the country -- and we are still adding to that. We are planning to add six to 10 outlets across Nepal this year.
Largest network of workshops and showrooms, and customer interaction are other factors contributing to Maruti Suzuki’s sustainability in Nepal. Design and quality of our products are the other factors contributing to making us stand out in Nepal’s market.
Other automobile brands are also focusing on network, design, quality and other consumer-centric activities to increase their share of Nepal’s automobile market. What is the only aspect that Maruti Suzuki has to assure its leading sustainability in Nepal?
It is not a secret strategy that you will do well if you have a good product and become consumer-centric. But it is a question of implementation and I believe that CG has done extremely well on the implementation side. Here, I mean to say that knowing is different from doing and doing is different from doing things continuously. This makes the cutting-edge difference. We have been continuously maintaining the quality of product and services which sets us apart and keeps us there. The strong brand image that stands for reliability and quality is also a plus point for Maruti Suzuki.
How important is Nepal’s market for Maruti Suzuki?
Nepal’s market is one of our focused markets. I agree that Nepal is a very small market for Suzuki, but our focus in Nepal has always been high as the consumer profile of Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan are quite similar. They are all developing nations having a similar sort of profile. Our experience and feedback from these markets are extremely important for us. That is why we have been focusing highly on the Nepali market. We bring all-new products to Nepal and, in fact, we offer our whole range of models in Nepal. In this sense, volume is not the only big thing. Nepal is a strategic market for us.
What are your future plans for Nepal?
To increase network, market share and maintain our position as a leader in Nepal are our priorities. Besides, we will also be launching some new products in Nepal in the near future including the new Vitara Brezza.
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