1st ever Maruti car, the Maruti 800 was delivered to its owner on 14th Dec 1983
2020 is an important year for Maruti Suzuki as well as its suppliers, partners and customers, as cumulative sales have crossed the 20 million mark. It took Maruti 37 years to achieve this feat, with the first unit being delivered on December 14, 1983. Coincidentally, earlier that year, India had also registered it first win in Cricket World Cup.
Delivered by the Prime Minister
The significance of Maruti coming into existence and starting operations can be gauged from the fact that the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi herself delivered the keys of the first car to its owner. Maruti was one of the important projects for the government, as it aimed at providing the growing and aspirational middle class a reliable and fuel efficient family car at affordable rates.
At the start, Maruti was a Rs 269 crore project. A new car took 800 minutes to get produced, which is about 13.33 hours. Today, Maruti sells 3 cars every minute. In 800 minutes, they sell about 2,400 cars. In its first full year of production, Maruti had plans to produce 20,000 cars. Today, they only need a few days to produce 20k cars.
The first car delivered was Maruti 800, priced at Rs 47,500. At the time of delivery, there were only 70 new cars that were rolled out of the production plant. Later, Maruti also launched the AC Deluxe variant of Maruti 800, which was priced at Rs 70,000. Mileage claimed was 25.95 kmpl. Below is a newspaper clipping from Dec 13, 1983.
Maruti had started out as Maruti Udyog Limited, which was a joint venture between government of India (GOI) and Suzuki. Initially, GOI was the major shareholder in the company. However, Suzuki has increased its shareholding over the years and is now the major shareholder with 56.37% share. After the success of Maruti 800, the company launched several other cars such as Gypsy, Omni, Maruti 1000 – This was the first proper sedan in the Indian market.
Post liberalization, the pace of new car launches had increased significantly. In 1993 came the 993 cc Zen hatchback, followed by 1,298 cc Esteem sedan in 1994. Other products introduced over the years included Maruti Baleno sedan, Wagon R, Alto and Suzuki Grand Vitara. In recent years, several new products were added to the portfolio such as Brezza, S-Cross, Ertiga, Baleno premium hatch, Swift, Celerio, Ignis, and Eeco.
Maruti car sales chronology
In terms of sales, the first million milestone was achieved in FY1995. The five million mark was achieved in 2006 and the next 5 came in FY2012. In FY2016, sales crossed the 15 million mark. 20 million production milestone was achieved in June 2018 whereas 20 million sales milestone came in 2020.
Maruti’s most produced car is Alto, contributing 3.17 million to the overall numbers. Other volume generators include Maruti 800 (2.91 million), Wagon R (2.13 million), Swift (2 million+) and Omni (1.94 million).
As things stand now, Maruti Suzuki is India’s largest carmaker with 50 percent market share. However, the company has been facing stiff competition in recent times, especially from South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia. A good example is that of Brezza, which is now trailing behind Kia Sonet and Hyundai Venue.
Maruti is aware of these developments and is working to fend of attacks from rival products. In the latest development, the company has decided to bring back diesel option for its cars, starting 2021. Brezza and Ertiga will be among the first Maruti cars to get the new diesel engine.