Indian Automobile Industry : Maruti Case Study

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MARUTI UDYOG LIMITED – Managing competition successfully

Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) was established in Feb 1981 through an Act of Parliament, to meet the growing demand of a personal mode of transport caused by the lack of an efficient public transport system. It was established with the objectives of - modernizing the Indian automobile industry, producing fuel efficient vehicles to conserve scarce resources and producing indigenous utility cars for the growing needs of the Indian population. A license and a Joint Venture agreement were signed with the Suzuki Motor Company of Japan in Oct 1983, by which Suzuki acquired 26% of the equity and agreed to provide the latest technology as well as Japanese management practices. Suzuki was preferred for the joint venture because of its track record in manufacturing and selling small cars all over the world. There was an option in the agreement to raise Suzuki’s equity to 40%, which it exercised in 1987. Five years later, in 1992, Suzuki further increased its equity to 50% turning Maruti into a non-government ganization managed on the lines of Japanese management practices. Maruti created history by going into production in a record 13 months. Maruti is the highest volume car manufacturer in Asia, outside Japan and Korea, having produced over 5 million vehicles by May 2005. Maruti is one of the most successful automobile joint ventures, and has made profits every year since inception till 2000-01. In 2000-01, although Maruti generated operating profits on an income of Rs 92.5 billion, high depreciation on new model launches resulted in a book loss.


The Evolution
Maruti’s history of evolution can be examined in four phases: two phases during pre-liberalization period (1983-86, 1986-1992) and two phases during post-liberalization period (1992-97, 1997-2002), followed by the full privatization of Maruti in June 2003 with the launch of an initial public offering (IPO).The first phase started when Maruti rolled out its first car in December 1983. During the initial years Maruti had 883 employees, a capital of Rs. 607 mn and profit of Rs. 17 mn without any tax obligation. From such a modest start the company in just about a decade (beginning of second phase in 1992) had turned itself into an automobile giant capturing about 80% of the market share in India. Employees grew to 2000 (end of first phase 1986), 3900 (end of second phase 1992) and 5700 in 1999. The profit after tax increased from Rs 18.67 mn in 1984 to Rs. 6854.54 mn in 1998 but started declining during 1997-2001. During the pre-liberalization period (1983-1992) a major source of Maruti’s strength was the wholehearted willingness of the Government of India to subscribe to Suzuki’s technology and the principles and practices of Japanese management. Large number of Indian managers, supervisors and workers were regularly sent to the Suzuki plants in Japan for training. Batches of Japanese personnel came over to Maruti to train, supervise and manage. Maruti’s style of management was essentially to follow Japanese management practices. The Path to Success for Maruti was as follows:

(a) teamwork and recognition that each employee’s future growth and prosperity is totally dependent on the company’s growth and prosperity (b) strict work discipline for individuals and the organization (c) constant efforts to increase the productivity of labor and capital (d) steady improvements in quality and reduction in costs (e) customer orientation (f) long-term objectives and policies with the confidence to realize the goals (g) respect of law, ethics and human beings. The “path to success” translated into practices that Maruti’s culture approximated from the Japanese management practices.

Maruti adopted the norm of wearing a uniform of the same color and quality of the fabric for all its employees thus giving an identity. All the employees ate in the same canteen. They commuted in the same buses...
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