Suzuki Motor Corp aims to sell million units in next 3 years

Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation is riding towards rural India in its bid to become a top three two-wheeler manufacturer in the country and sell a million units within the next three years.

The company's Indian arm, Suzuki Motorcycle India plans to add 400 dealerships in 2014-15 out of which 300 would be in rural markets for its push for more volumes. It plans to have a total of 1,000 dealerships across the country by the end of FY15, up from the current 600.

"We have a strong distribution network in the urban areas now but not so strong in rural areas. We need to have a robust network to sell our mass market product like the Hayate (bike)," Suzuki Motorcycle India Executive Vice-President (Sales and Marketing) Atul Gupta told PTI here on the sidelines of the Auto Expo.

Currently, the company has 400 dealerships in urban India and 200 in rural market.

Elaborating on the company's plans, he said: "In the next 24-36 months, we should be able to reach the one million mark annually. By then we would be among top 3 to 4 two-wheeler manufacturers in India," he said, adding at present the firm is the 5th position.

Highlighting the significance of the company's ambition, he said last year the company sold about 5 lakh units and the target is to double it in the next three years. For 2014, the company is looking at 15 per cent sales growth.

"In order to achieve, yes we would need more models. We will have another mass market bike in the 100 cc segment within the next 18 months," Gupta said, when asked about future product launches.

To correspond with its target, the company is also expanding production capacity gradually at its Gurgaon factory.

"Last year the capacity was 4 lakh annually, this is being increased to 5.4 lakh units now. It will be gradually ramped up to one million in three years time," he said.

When asked about the investments, he declined to comment but said "so far we have invested Rs 554 crore".

Gupta said the company will focus on enhancing the image of Suzuki brand, strengthen products and distribution apart from satisfying existing customers as part of a three-pronged strategy to achieve its target.

When asked if the company could have product development centr in India in future, Gupta said: "Having an R&D centre in India and large scale exports from here could be a possibility, once we cross the one million mark."

The company has just started exporting in very small numbers to Africa, South America and neighbouring countries from India.

At the ongoing Auto Expo, Suzuki unveiled its motorcycles V Strom 1000, Inazuma and Gixxer along with scooter Let’s, adding to its current line up that includes bikes Hayate, GSR150R and SlingShot Plus; along with scooters such Access and Swish.

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