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    Strong Hybrid SUV could be good for both Suzuki and Toyota, says Maruti's new Managing Director

    business | IST

    Strong Hybrid SUV could be good for both Suzuki and Toyota, says Maruti's new Managing Director

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    Maruti Suzuki's new MD and CEO Hisashi Takeuchi in his first interaction with the media after taking over as the leader of India's largest passenger car maker confirmed that Maruti would be launching hybrid vehicles in India in the near future. Takeuchi said a strong hybrid SUV could be good for both Toyota and Suzuki in India.

    Maruti Suzuki will be technology-neutral and will focus on a range of options to reduce CO2 emissions, said Maruti Suzuki's new MD and CEO Hisashi Takeuchi in his first interaction with the media after taking over as the leader of India's largest passenger car maker. "Electric vehicles have a good potential, but by 2030 only 10 percent of cars would be electric. Rest 90 percent would still be IC engines in combination with other technologies", he said.
    Takeuchi confirmed that Maruti would be launching hybrid vehicles in India in the near future. Maruti believes that hybrid electric vehicles, which do not need charging are a good first step in the transition towards electric & alternate fuel vehicles. Responding to a CNBC-TV18 query about the possibility of a strong hybrid SUV being launched by Toyota and Suzuki in India, Takeuchi said that such a project could be good for both companies.
    The company's managing director said the transition to any new technology must be smooth and must not disrupt the industry, which employs a large number of people. Reacting to recent fires in electric vehicles, Takeuchi said Maruti is giving paramount importance to safety in electric vehicle testing.
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    "Indian environment is very tough and the temperature is very high. This is not a very good environment for battery life. We are testing electric cars in both Japanese and Indian conditions. We did long and intensive testing in India to make sure our system is free from failures and accidents", he said. The company has tested 50 electric cars across highways, roads, hill and desert conditions in India.
    Talking about his priorities, Takeuchi said that he would like to take the joy of mobility to the maximum number of Indians and that Maruti would continue focusing on small cars, which is one of the strengths of the company.
    "We have to be in all segments to maintain market position. The small car segment is one of our strengths. Right now SUV market share is increasing because small cars are becoming more expensive due to high input costs. We need to work hard to make more technological improvements and ensure more localization to make more affordable cars for Indian people", he said.
    Without elaborating on the timeline for the launch, Takeuchi said the company was working towards launching the Jimny in India. The Jimny would be a rival to Mahindra's popular Thar SUV in India.
    Defending the company's drop in market share to 43.65 percent in FY22, an eight-year low, the company's MD said there had been no erosion in the company's market share and growth. "We were constrained by supply chain issues, we have over 2.7 lakh pending bookings. Overall our YoY growth was still 13 percent", he said.
    When asked about the collaboration with Toyota, Takeuchi said the Suzuki-Toyota collaboration was working well and there was a lot of work going on in the background. While Toyota and BYD are collaborating on battery technology in China, the MD did not elaborate on how the tie up would help Suzuki Motor Company and its operations in India.
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