R. C. Bhargava, Seetha
The targets were stupendous and considered unachievable by almost everyone. Slightly over two years to find a suitable partner, finalize all legal documentation, get governmental approval to these agreements as well as to the investment proposals, build a factory, develop a supplier base to meet localization regulations, create a sales and service network, and develop and launch a people's car that would sell 100,000 a year, in a sector where Indian expertise was limited. And to do this as a public sector company, having to follow all governmental systems and procedures, and having to please both its masters in the government and Suzuki Motor Corporation.
However, the Maruti project succeeded, and in ways that were unimaginable in 1983. The car revolutionized the industry and put a country on wheels. Suddenly, ordinary middle-class men and women could aspire to own a reliable, economical and modern car, and the steep sales targets were easily met. Twenty-six years later, the company, now free of government controls and facing competition from the world's major manufacturers who have entered the Indian market, still leads the way. Not only that, cars made by Maruti can be seen in all continents.
By any yardstick, it is an incredible story, involving grit, management skill and entrepreneurship of a high order. R.C. Bhargava, who was at the helm of thecompany, and is currently its chairman, co-writing with senior journalist and author Seetha, shows how it was done in this riveting account of a landmark achievement.
Journey of industrial resurgence Financial Express
Post-independence industrial resurgence owes a lot to an incredible spread of automotive industry in India in the 1980s and 1990s. This resurgence was triggered in large measure by Maruti. The Maruti Story by RC Bhargava and Seetha is an interesting documentation of how Maruti spread its wings across the Indian landscape, significantly impacting industrial climate, regulatory regime and, indeed, policy framework. In the process, it also laid the foundation of a vibrant, technology-driven automotive industry in India.
It’s a fascinating saga of grit, determination and abiding commitment of a few individuals who chose to create an enterprise unparalleled in the industrial history of India—all within the fold of a state-owned enterprise. A small team of managers handpicked by Indira Gandhi from civil services and business was entrusted to carry forward the dream of Maruti. Nearly completely insulated from political interference in its initial stage by patrons like Arun Nehru, this team went ahead and delivered to India a world-class, small car company. Eventually, this company unleashed an automotive revolution in India, changing the way India was to subsequently grow in industrial terms and commute. Of course, this did not happen without its due share of pangs and pains.