Hisashi Takeuchi takes over Maruti


As Kenichi Ayukawa passes the baton to Hisashi Takeuchi, ending a turbulent nine-year stint at the helm of Maruti, he will be remembered for overseeing and guiding the company through several innovative initiatives aimed at strengthening the brand as well as only to help maintain its market share in India.

His role in leading Maruti and leading the business from inception during the Covid crisis, staying put in India and getting Maruti back on track post-lockdown and supporting suppliers and dealers through inventory management is another important part of his Indian heritage. Ayukawa did this by laying out a clear strategy and outlining the approach that India’s largest automaker, with over 50% passenger vehicle market share, should take. It also received support from the head office in Japan, with SMC President Osamu Suzuki addressing the Maruti supplier community to seek their support and urging them to prepare a “contingency plan for the resumption of production and increased inventory in preparation for the second wave of Covid-19″. pandemic.”

A changed world
As Ayukawa described the pandemic, “This crisis can lead to the emergence of new opportunities, skills and technological solutions, and we must adapt quickly to the demands of a changing world. I firmly believe in ‘survival of the fittest’. “.

He also said the Covid crisis had “taught is that the business environment has become much more dynamic and interconnected and much less predictable than before. At a time when the automotive industry is experiencing a once-in-a-century transformation across the world, events like Covid-19 are further increasing the complexity of doing business. »

Ayukawa’s tenure coincided with some key events both at Maruti and in India’s larger automotive ecosystem. When he took office in 2013, Maruti was in the grip of a severe labor crisis. In the months leading up to the start of its innings, the Manesar factory was disrupted by mob violence, which claimed the life of a senior human resources manager. A month-long lockout ensued. It’s to his credit that Ayukawa took timely action to bring the situation under control even as the company tried to figure out how the unrest started.

Commercially, Ayukawa also oversaw the implementation of several sales and marketing initiatives, including the establishment of the Nexa line to manage the company’s premium brands as well as Arena to manage the portfolio. other Maruti vehicles. During his tenure, Maruti has also made significant strides in catering rural markets with sales hitting the 50 lakh mark, accounting for 40% of the company’s total sales. He also listened to the needs of dealers and ensured they were able to run a profitable business.

From a broader automotive perspective, Ayukawa has steered his ship through the transition to BS 6, the decision to ditch diesel and also efforts to release a range of cars equipped with Maruti’s proprietary S-CNG technology. . Today the company has 9 models with CNG options and has indicated plans to equip its Nexa range with a CNG option as buyers struggling with skyrocketing prices want an affordable, clean fuel option. .

Alliance building
During his time Ayukawa also saw the alliance forged between Maruti and fellow Japanese player Toyota under which a host of models, including the Baleno and Vitara Brezza, were badge-engineered as Toyota offerings. . Another of his contributions leading Maruti was sustainability initiatives. Under his leadership, the company was able to reduce the carbon emissions of its fleet by 20%.

He also played a key role in India’s automotive sector and had one of the most influential platforms when in September 2020, Ayukawa, who was vice president of SIAM, succeeded Rajan Wadhera as president, becoming the first expatriate to hold this position. On a personal level, he was friendly and affable but also tough.

Leaving the office of General Manager and CEO, he will continue as a full-time director designated as Executive Vice President until September 30, 2022. His successor Hisashi Takeuchi is a Suzuki veteran and it is safe to say that upon entering in the great boots of his predecessor, he will have the challenge of advancing his legacy.


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