Hyundai’s Challenge to Maruti Suzuki in the Dynamic Indian Automobile Sector


In the 1980s, Maruti had no real competition in India, and it did not even have to market its products. There were long waiting lists, and they made more than half of their cars in white, thus saving costs. However, once Hyundai entered the market, things started to change. Hyundai started focusing on quality, customer care and service. It talked about its technology like multi-point fuel injection (MPFI) which emitted lower emission and met Euro norms. It brought in Santro Zip Drive version which was the first small car with a power steering. It advertised Santro as being a five-seater as opposed to Maruti Suzuki’s products, and it brought in fluidic sculpture design with Verna and promoted it. As a result, Maruti Suzuki, which controlled 70 per cent of the Indian market at its peak, came down to 52 per cent in twenty years, whereas Hyundai reached around 22 per cent. It was a long battle in a sector whose dynamics were changing as a result of government policies, such as excise duty cuts,increase in customs duty, lower interest rates and the introduction of goods and service tax (GST) besides the ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign.

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