Maruti Plans New Showrooms to Sell More Expensive Cars

Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. said it plans to set up almost 100 new showrooms in India in the next six to eight months to attract buyers seeking a more premium shopping experience.

The company will distribute the S-Cross, its first compact crossover, through the new NEXA network when it goes on sale in August. The dealerships would have dedicated relationship managers and customers will be able to customize their car on an iPad.

“NEXA provides a new experience of hospitality from Maruti Suzuki,” Chief Executive Officer Kenichi Ayukawa said in a statement. “Indian market and Indian society are rapidly changing and new segments of customers are emerging. We have to take new initiatives to meet diversifying expectations from our customers.”

Maruti, which sells about half the cars in the country, has so far been known for its cheap and fuel efficient vehicles. The company plans to sell 2 million cars a year by 2020, from 1.17 million in the year ended March, and expects separate showrooms to help boost the sales of more expensive models that it’s seeking to introduce.

“Maruti has been trying very hard to establish their identity in the premium car segment as they’ve been known for their small and affordable cars for the last thirty years,” said Abdul Majeed, a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP based in Chennai. “It’s a strategy worth taking as in the existing dealership setup, it’s very hard to give individual attention to customers because of the large volumes of customers they handle.”

The company’s sales have risen 13 percent in the fiscal first quarter that began April 1, outpacing the 6.2 percent gain in the Indian passenger-vehicle market.

The company’s shares have risen 27 percent this year, compared with the 3.5 percent gain in the benchmark Sensitive Index.

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