Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MARUTI) is the second-best performing auto company among the top 15 stocks in the sector, noted newspaper Mint in a report earlier this month. The shares of the company are up 49% this year, second only to Tesla (TSLA), which is up 59%. Both stocks have enjoyed tremendous upside this year, but that is where the similarity ends. 

Maruti has built an unbeatable name for itself with mass-market offerings that Indians perceive as value for money. What began as a government undertaking to build a car for middle class Indians in the 80s transformed into a booming joint venture with Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. in the years that followed. A decade ago the government sold its dwindling stake and divested from the company, which is now majority-owned (56%) by Suzuki. 

The company claims to have the widest service network and over 2,000 sales outlets in the country (it plans to reach 4,000 by 2020). It controls over 50% of the passenger car market share (about 80% of automobile sales are two-wheelers) in what is a notoriously competitive market and has watched as foreign names like General Motors (GM) entered and retreated. (See also: General Motors Will Stop Selling Cars in India.)

South Korean manufacturer Hyundai (HYMLF), which is its biggest challenger in India, controls around 18% of the market and has recognized it can't compete volume-wise. "Maruti is in the volume play in the Indian market since 1985, but we are a different company. We are a strong, innovative brand. We have a very strong product line-up in terms of SUVs (sport utility vehicles), passenger cars or even when it comes to being premium,” said Hyundai India chief Y.K. Koo to Mint.

And the stock could continue increasing investors' wealth. It is projected to outperform the market, according to consensus analyst estimates. Global brokerage firms like Goldman Sachs, Nomura, Morgan Stanley and CLSA have maintained a bullish attitude toward MSIL this year. The Economic Times' Intelligence Group, which expects volume and margin growth to keep investor interest high, reported the stock is trading at 23 times its projected fiscal 2019 earnings and a 33 per cent premium to its five-year average PE movement. 

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