History of Maruti Suzuki Cars

Maruti was established in February 1981 with production starting in 1983 with the Maruti_800, based on the Suzuki Alto car. As of May 2007, the Government of India, through Ministry of Disinvestment, sold its complete share to Indian financial institutions and no longer has any stake in Maruti Udyog.


Chronology



Under the Maruti name

In 1970, a private limited company named Surya Ram Maruti technical services private limited (MTSPL) was launched on 16 November 1970. The stated purpose of this company was to provide technical know-how for the design, manufacture and assembly of "a wholly indigenous motor car". In June 1971, a company called Maruti limited was incorporated under the Companies Act. Maruti Limited went into liquidation in 1977. Maruti Udyog Ltd was incorporated through the efforts of V. Krishnamurthy.



Affiliation with Suzuki

In 1982, a license & Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) was signed between Maruti Udyog Ltd, and Suzuki of Japan. At first, Maruti Suzuki was mainly an importer of cars. In India's closed market, Maruti received the right to import 40,000 fully built-up Suzuki in the first two years, and even after that, the early goal was to use only 33% indigenous parts. This upset the local manufacturers considerably. There were also some concerns that the Indian market was too small to absorb the comparatively large production planned by Maruti Suzuki, with the government even considering adjusting the petrol tax and lowering the excise duty in order to boost sales. Finally, in 1983, the Maruti 800 was released. This 796 cc hatchback was based on the SS80 Suzuki Alto and was India’s first affordable car. Initial product plan was 40% saloons, and 60% Maruti Van. Local production commenced in December 1983. In 1984, the Maruti Van with the same three-cylinder engine as the 800 was released and the installed capacity of the plant in Gurgaon reached 40,000 units.

In 1985, the Suzuki SJ410-based Gypsy, a 970 cc 4WD off-road vehicle, was launched. In 1986, the original 800 was replaced by an all-new model of the 796 cc hatchback Suzuki Alto and the 100,000th vehicle was produced by the company. In 1987, the company started exporting to the West, when a lot of 500 cars were sent to Hungary. By 1988, the capacity of the Gurgaon plant was increased to 100,000 units per annum.



Market liberalisation

In 1989, the Maruti 1000 was introduced and the 970 cc, three-box was India’s first contemporary sedan. By 1991, 65 per cent of the components, for all vehicles produced, were indigenized. After liberalization of the Indian economy in 1991, Suzuki increased its stake in Maruti to 50 per cent, making the company a 50-50 JV with the Government of India the other stake holder.

In 1993, the Zen, a 993 cc, hatchback was launched and in 1994 the 1298 cc Esteem was introduced. Maruti produced its 1 millionth vehicle since the commencement of production in 1994. Maruti's second plant was opened with annual capacity reaching 200,000 units. Maruti launched a 24-hour emergency on-road vehicle service. In 1998, the new Maruti 800 was released, the first change in design since 1986. Zen D, a 1527 cc diesel hatchback and Maruti's first diesel vehicle and a redesigned Omni were introduced. In 1999, the 1.6 litre Maruti Baleno three-box saloon and Wagon R were also launched.
In 2000, Maruti became the first car company in India to launch a Call Center for internal and customer services. The new Alto model was released. In 2001, Maruti True Value, selling and buying used cars was launched. In October of the same year the Maruti Versa was launched. In 2002, Esteem Diesel was introduced. Two new subsidiaries were also started: Maruti Insurance Distributor Services and Maruti Insurance Brokers Limited. Suzuki Motor Corporation increased its stake in Maruti to 54.2 per cent.
In 2003, the new Suzuki Grand Vitara XL-7 was introduced while the Zen and the Wagon R were upgraded and redesigned. The four millionth Maruti vehicle was built and they entered into a partnership with the State Bank of India. Maruti Udyog Ltd was Listed on BSE and NSE after a public issue, which was oversubscribed tenfold. In 2004, the Altobecame India's best selling car overtaking the Maruti 800 after nearly two decades. The five-seater Versa 5-seater, a new variant, was created while the Esteem was re-launched. Maruti Udyog closed the financial year 2003-04 with an annual sale of 472,122 units, the highest ever since the company began operations and the fiftieth lakh (5 millionth) car rolled out in April 2005. The 1.3 litre Suzuki Swift five-door hatchback was introduced in 2005.
In 2006 Suzuki and Maruti set up another joint venture, "Maruti Suzuki Automobiles India", to build two new manufacturing plants, one for vehicles and one for engines. Cleaner cars were also introduced, with several new models meeting the new "Bharat Stage III" standards. In February 2012, Maruti Suzuki sold its ten millionth vehicle in India. In July 2014 it had a market share of more 45 %.
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