Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), India's largest carmaker, has commenced the export of its Grand Vitara SUV. The first shipment of Grand Vitara sailed to Latin America from the Kamarajar port recently. The company aims to export Grand Vitara to more than 60 countries across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, ASEAN, and neighbouring regions.

According to Hisashi Takeuchi, managing director and CEO, MSIL, the carmaker has always taken initiatives to increase its international presence, and also align itself with the government's 'Make in India' initiative, and increase exports from India. "By adding Grand Vitara, we now export a range of 17 vehicles. Grand Vitara—unveiled in July 2022—has received overwhelming response in the domestic market, and we are confident that the India-manufactured Grand Vitara will meet with similar success in overseas markets as well," he says. According to data available from dealers, MSIL sold 6,171 units in December—which is perceived as a time when demand softens because of the imminent change in the production year.

Exports are critical for both MSIL and its parent company, Suzuki Motor Company (SMC). "India is a significant market for the Suzuki group, not only in terms of the domestic market, but also as a global export base. Compared to the last five years, exports have almost doubled, with a record high of over 2.3 lakh vehicles last fiscal year. This fiscal, it has exceeded the base of the previous fiscal, and running at a level, that is likely to set a new record for exports," explains Toshihiro Suzuki, representative director and president, SMC. Suzuki says that SMC is making efforts to expand its exports from India. "At the same time, we are deeply grateful that we have been able to increase our exports recently. That is because of the stable and continuous measures to promote manufacturing, which have been instituted by Prime Minister Modi."

According to RC Bhargava, chairman, MSIL, export vehicles in FY 2021-22 increased by 1.42 lakh as the semi-conductor shortage did not affect export models as much. In CY 2022, MSIL registered an export of over 2.6 lakh vehicles, its highest-ever exports in a calendar year. This is an increase of 28% over the previous record of 205,450 vehicles dispatched overseas in CY 2021. Interestingly, the company exported, in CY 2022, more than double the volume it exported in the pre-pandemic year (2019)— which was 1,07,190 units. In its annual report, MSIL noted that the demand in the overseas market is also expected to remain stable and will likely support export sales in FY2022-23.

MSIL started exporting vehicles in FY 1986-87, with the company's first consignment of 500 vehicles being exported to Hungary. Today, MSIL exports to around 100 countries. MSIL vehicles witness high popularity among customers in regions like Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, ASEAN, and neighbouring regions. In 2022, the highest exported models by Maruti Suzuki were Dzire, Swift, S-Presso, Baleno (the first product to be exclusively manufactured in India and exported across the world), and Brezza.

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