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Maruti Suzuki EVP Aditya Aggarwal

If you are an entrepreneur innovating in the mobility space, then you could have the backing of the largest automobile manufacturer in India. Maruti Suzuki, which dominates almost 50% of the Indian auto industry, is opening its arms to startups innovating in the mobility sector.

Through Mobility and Automobile Innovation Lab (MAIL), Maruti is ready to back and accelerate startups that can help the grand old automobile manufacturer adopt cutting-edge technology for its cars.

In a conversation with YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, Aditya Aggarwal, Executive Vice President of Maruti Suzuki India, said he is looking for startups to help him solve Maruti’s problems. If it works out, then Maruti is ready to help these startups grow.

Despite its size, Aggarwal pointed out that Maruti did not become complacent. He understands large corporations are often risk-averse, but moving slowly could leave the company vulnerable to innovative fast-moving startups.

“Once someone comes with better technology and serves customers better, we are finished. We might collapse one day,” he added.

To ensure that Maruti remains at the top of the innovation agenda, the company has set up MAIL, which operates like a startup accelerator and incubator.

Consumer choice has changed, and Indian consumers do not want cheap cars anymore but are looking out for technology in their vehicles, just like their smartphones, he said.

“People might ask where is Maruti in the electric vehicle (EV) space. I would like to tell them it is under control and will be there at the right time,” Aggarwal added.

Back in 2020, MAIL started its first cohort with eight startups. Today, the well-established incubator runs six programmes. The company has made a venture investment and is open to making more such investments to keep the ecosystem kicking.

“We run an intrapreneurship challenge too, where we encourage our employees to create something and build it in-house,” he said.

Despite a Rs 2.5 lakh crore publicly listed behemoth, Maruti has an open culture, taking a lot from its Japanese partner, Suzuki.

“We all wear the same uniform across levels. We have an open office except for our MD, who has a cabin. We all eat at the same canteen, so we want to be approachable,” Aggarwal said.

He further pointed out that Maruti takes the startups, which graduate from its cohorts, to Japan to meet the company’s top leadership, where even the chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation spends time with them.

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