Suzuki Motor working on affordable hybrid for small cars, says R C Bhargava, Maruti to consider plug-in hybrids too | Autocar Professional

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Amid slowing adoption of electric vehicles, Maruti Suzuki -the country’s largest car maker continues to explore different alternatives to move towards carbon neutrality.

Speaking to media post FY-24 earnings, the top management stated that HQ Suzuki is working on an affordable hybrid solution for the compact cars and it will seriously consider the more expensive plug-in hybrid technology for the future.

R C Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki said the cost of technology that goes into the Toyota hybrid is still quite high, that is why the cost of the car becomes high and with the GST at 43% – it makes the (hybrid) vehicle prices higher.

“A lot of work is going on in Suzuki Japan on evolving better technology which will enable smaller cars to take advantage of the principles of hybridization to improve fuel economy and at a much more affordable cost. If that is aligned with lower GST also, I think you can look forward to small cars with much higher mileage than what they have today,” explained Bhargava.

Autocar India had exclusively reported in February that Maruti Suzuki is readying a more accessible series hybrid technology for its cars, which will go into its upcoming crossover Fronx, Baleno, Swift and a small MPV, which will hit the roads in the coming years.

Bhargava did not share any specific timelines for the affordable hybrids. On the way ahead, he said, “(Introduction of affordable hybrids) depends on the GST rate and how quickly and effectively Suzuki Japan engineers are able to develop a technology that is robust and give us the result that we want,” he added.

Given that Maruti Suzuki is also expanding its portfolio into higher priced mid-size SUVs, a plug-in hybrid is also a potential being explored for the future.

Hishahi Takeuchi, MD of Maruti Suzuki said, “We don’t have an immediate plan of bringing in the plug-in hybrid technology into India, but I think it is a very interesting proposition and we must consider this really seriously.”

This would essentially mean, Maruti Suzuki could offer a complete range of hybrid solutions – right from affordable series hybrid (being developed by Suzuki, current strong parallel hybrid from Toyota and a plug-in hybrid if the study concludes favourably.  

The decision to work on an affordable hybrid also happens at a time, when the senior government officials have expressed their desire to look at a potential tax or a cess reduction for hybrid vehicles in India.

Maruti Suzuki is targeting a 25% penetration of hybrids as part of its 3.0 long term vision – which would translate to over 7.5 lakh units to 1 million hybrid car sales by FY-31.

So far it offers hybrid only its mid-size premium vehicles Grand Vitara and Invicto, but the volumes should swell from FY-26.

On the potential volumes for the future,  Bhargava said, “I will be able to answer your question better, once the GST council meets and takes a decision on hybrids.”

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