Manesar Lockout Effect: Maruti Suzuki mulls increase in Ertiga production at Gurgaon
Due to the lockout at the Manesar plant caused due to violence which resulted in the death of a HR manager, production of best selling car models like the Swift hatchback and the Swift Dzire compact sedan has been affected. Due to this, Production at Suzuki Powertrain Limited, the engine and transmission manufacturing facility of Maruti, that supplies diesel engines to the country’s larget automaker, has been cut by nearly a third. Maruti Suzuki now plans to revert back to peak production at Suzuki Powertrain, and use the additional diesel engines for boosting production of the Ertiga MPV.
The Ertiga MPV, launched earlier this year, is Maruti’s first diesel MPV and has seen big demand ever since its launch. While the MPV is also available with a 1.4 Liter K-series petrol engine, it is the 1.3 Liter fiat Multijet diesel engine which is seeing the maximum demand with 8 out of 10 Ertigas being sold in India featuring diesel engines. Maruti Suzuki is currently sitting on an order book of 32,000 for the Ertiga. Production of the Ertiga stands at 5,000 units per month, which the automaker plans to increase by about 40% to 7,000 units per month.
The increase in production is mainly to absorb the diesel engines that Suzuki Powertrain produces as the Manesar plant continues to be locked down. Also, with the waiting periods of the Swift hatchback insreasing due to the lockout at Manesar, the Ritz diesel model is expected to see increased demand. The Ritz is produced alongside the Ertiga at Maruti’s Gurgaon plant. A facelifted model of the Ritz is also expected in the coming months even as Maruti has already begun exporting the facelifted model of the tall-boy hatchback to European markets.
Coming back to the Ertiga, it is currently the best selling MPV in the Indian car market, beating the Toyota Innova in terms of monthly numbers. Waiting periods of the diesel variants of the Ertiga, which are quite high at about 3-4 months, is expected to decrease once Maruti begins producing more cars. This, however could be a temporary relief as Maruti will require to divert diesel engine production back to the Manesar plant once the lockdown ends. Until then though, expect quicker deliveries of the Ertiga, which is available on both 5 seat and 7 seat variants.