India's leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki sells some of its top-end cars via the Nexa dealerships, which are designed to provide premium experience to customers. Nexa's current portfolio comprises cars such as Ciaz, S-Cross, Ignis and Baleno. Next they are planning to add Ertiga Cross, a more premium variant of Ertiga MPV to the Nexa line-up.
Post Ertiga Cross, Maruti will also add their electric car line-up to Nexa. Maruti will launch their first electric car next year. It has already started testing in India, and spied multiple times. Based on the Japan spec WagonR electric, the India-spec WagonR electric is expected to cost around Rs 12 lakhs.
As Maruti WagonR electric will serve a niche segment of customers, it makes sense for the company to retail the car via their more premium segment of dealers. Maruti currently offers multiple kind of dealerships. True Value is for used cars, Arena is for Alto, WagonR, Baleno, Dzire, Swift, Celerio, then there is CV dealers who retail Carry and on top is Nexa, which in some cities have showrooms bigger than those of premium German car brands.
Maruti Suzuki is entering the e-car scene at about the right time. Govt of India has started giving huge push to EVs. To reduce its dependence on third-party suppliers and improve performance and reliability of batteries, the company is setting up its own plant to manufacture lithium ion batteries. This plant is expected to become operational by 2020. Maruti Suzuki may supply its batteries to other carmakers as well.
WagonR was chosen for the electric car project, as it is one of the most reliable name in the company's portfolio. WagonR is also widely popular across India, which will make it easier to market its electric counterpart.
To ensure success of Maruti's e-car project, the company is being provided the necessary assistance from Toyota Motor Corporation. Toyota and Suzuki have a global vehicle and technology sharing agreement, which is applicable in India as well. Recently launched Toyota Glanza, a rebadged version of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, was part of this agreement.
To ensure maximum availability of its electric cars, Maruti Suzuki is also expanding its Nexa dealership network. Currently, there are around 250 Nexa dealerships and this number is expected to increase to 400 by 2020.