In a bid to facilitate speedier deliveries of its high-demand and top-selling models like the premium Baleno hatchback and the Vitara Brezza SUV, Maruti Suzuki India is all set to start a second shift at its Gujarat plant, which began single-shift operations in February this year.
The Hansalpur-based plant currently produces close to 10,000 Balenos every month, while the Manesar plant also makes the hatchback. The move to start a second shift will help reduce the current waiting period of 18-19 weeks for the Baleno and also reduce the production pressure at the Gurgaon and Manesar plants.
The company is slated to roll out 1,50,000 Balenos from Suzuki's Gujarat plant this fiscal. In the April-August 2017 period, a total of 90,555 Balenos have been manufactured, 20,427 of them in August. The Baleno, earlier this year, surpassed the 2,00,000 sales landmark in the domestic market.
The Vitara Brezza, which is produced at the Gurgaon plant, currently has a waiting period of nearly 20 weeks. In the April-August 2017 period, a total of 60,194 Brezzas have been produced with the highest number in August (14,517). On July 20 this year, our sister magazine, Autocar Professional had broken the news of the Brezza breezing past the 1,50,000 sales milestone in a scant 17 months.
"From October onwards, a second shift is being added at the Gujarat plant. This will ease pressure at our Gurgaon and Manesar plants, especially for the Baleno and Brezza," RS Kalsi, senior executive director, Maruti Suzuki India, told PTI.
"We are having continuous robust demand for the Brezza and even if we have increased output, the orders are coming in and that's why this model still has a high waiting period," Kalsi added. With additional units of the Baleno coming in from the Gujarat plant, Kalsi said, "We will have some room to adjust for production of other models at our two facilities at Manesar and Gurgaon."
Commenting on festive season sales, he said the season has begun well for the company. "In the first five months of the fiscal, our sales have grown by 18 percent. During the festive season, we are looking at around 18-20 percent growth compared to the year-ago period," he added.
The Vitara Brezza, on sale since 2016, takes on the rivals like the Ford EcoSport (set to get an update next month) and the recently launched Tata Nexon compact SUV, while the Baleno faces competition from the Hyundai i20 and the Honda Jazz.