In an exclusive chat RS Kalsi, senior director marketing and sales of Maruti Suzuki India spoke about the Concept Future-S, SUVs and the future of electric cars in India at the Auto Expo in Delhi.
Q: Congratulations for coming up with the Concept Future-S, so when can we expect the model to be on sale?
Ans: Thank you, well I must tell you, worldwide this same principle is followed. First, the concept car is launched then the feedback from the customer is sought and then the working model is put in place. We have already initiated the process...
The idea of doing this was that customer preference is moving towards SUVs and SUV-like models. It is a revolutionary concept, for the first time in a sub-compact category we are giving SUV-like features.
Q: What about the competition?
Ans: A leader has multiple responsibilities, one of them is to expand the market and the other is to raise the bar - we have nobody else to look up to since we are the leader, we continuously seek to lead and have a customer-centric approach.
We are not driven by competition, we are driven by the customers. India is a young country and it has many aspirations, so we have to keep the interest of the youth in mind.
Q: What kind of business do you think the Future-S will be able to generate?
A: It is too early to predict at this stage but I am sure it will become a category leader and create excitement in the market...
Q: What about mileage and price, since India is a very price conscious market...
A: It is in Maruti's DNA to produce products keeping the customers in mind, we produce fuel-efficient cars at a price which is very comfortably priced and we will continue to move in that direction.
Q: It is also believed that it may cost more, is it true?
A: It is too premature to talk about the price. However, our intent is to keep it competitive
Q: Are there any chances that the design may change?
A: There would certainly be some design refinements since it would be based on customer feedback.
Q: What about Maruti's electric car strategy?
A: Our electric car plan is already in place, we intend to launch it in 2020.
Q: Do you think government's 2030 deadline of converting all cars into electric is possible?
A: The government's plan is flexible. However, as I see it, a strong hybrid is an attempt towards moving in the "full electric" direction. It also reduces emissions, it is a total package which we hope to offer in the future. It will also be environment-friendly...
Q: Do you think we are ready...
A: There is always a cost involved, we need to take the first step, unless we don't go in that direction we will never be able to get there....
(Reported by: Jhalak Nagpal, WION)