First Maruti car, the Maruti 800 was delivered to its owner on 14 December 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 marks. Maruti needed 37 years to achieve this feat, with the first unit delivered on December 14, 1983. Coincidentally, earlier that year, India also recorded its first victory in Cricket World Cup.
Delivered by the Prime Minister
The significance of Maruti’s existing and beginning operations can be measured by the fact that the then Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi herself delivered the keys of the first car to her owner. Maruti was one of the major projects for the government as it aimed to provide the growing and aspiring middle class with a reliable and fuel efficient family car at affordable rates.
Initially, Maruti was a project of 269 million. A new car took 800 minutes to produce, which is about 13.33 hours. Today Maruti sells 3 cars every minute. In 800 minutes, about 2,400 cars are sold. In its first full year of production, Maruti planned to produce 20,000 cars. Today they only need a few days to produce 20k cars.
The first car delivered was a Maruti 800, price is Rs 47,500. During the delivery, there were only 70 new cars that were rolled out of the factory. Later, Maruti also launched the AC Deluxe variant of Maruti 800 which was priced at Rs 70,000. Mileage required was 25.95 kmpl. Below is a newspaper clipping from December 13, 1983.
Maruti was started as Maruti Udyog Limited, which was a joint venture between Government of India (GOI) and Suzuki. Initially GOI was the main shareholder in the company. However Suzuki has increased its stock water over the years and is now the main shareholder with 56.37% share. After the success of Maruti 800, the company launched several other cars like Gypsy, Omni, Maruti 1000 – This was the first suitable cabriolet in the Indian market.
After liberalization, the speed of new car launches increased significantly. In 1993 came the 993-cm Zen-open van, followed by a 1,298-cc Esteem cabriolet in 1994. Other products launched over the years included a Maruti Whale van, a Wagon R, Alto and a Suzuki Grand Vitara. In recent years, several new products have been added to the portfolio such as Brezza, S-Cross, Ertiga, Whale Award hatchback, Swift, Celery, Ignis and Eeco.
Chronology of Maruti car sales
In terms of sales, the first million milestone was reached in FY1995. The five million marks were reached in 2006 and the next 5 came in FY2012. In FY2016, sales exceeded the 15-million mark. 20 million production milestone was reached in June 2018 while 20 million sales milestone came in 2020.
De Maruti 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 it stands now, Maruti Suzuki is India’s largest car manufacturer with a 50 per cent market share. However the company has been facing stiff competition lately, especially from South Korean carmakers Hyundai and Kia. A good example is that of Brezza, which now follows behind Kia Sonet and Hyundai Venue.
Maruti is aware of these developments and is working to defend attacks from rival products. In the latest development, the company has decided to return diesel choice for its cars, starting in 2021. Brezza and Ertiga will be among the first Maruti cars to acquire the new diesel engine.