Maruti Suzuki India, which is going great guns in the domestic market and is stretched for capacity, is going to get a big hike in manufacturing capacity at Suzuki Motor Corporation’s (SMC) upcoming plant in Gujarat.
Speaking to Autocar Professional, RC Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India, said that construction work on the new plant is underway as per plan. SMC is planning an additional investment of around Rs 8,500 crore in the Gujarat plant.
Maruti Suzuki India, which currently has a cumulative manufacturing capacity of 1.5 million units from its Gurgaon and Manesar plants, will see its capacity expanded by another 1.5 million units. SMC plans to set up six assembly lines for producing 250,000 cars on each line at the Gujarat plant. The plant is slated to commence production in January 2017 with the much-in-demand Baleno hatchback and subsequently the new-generation Swift and Swift Dzire models.
Maruti Suzuki, which currently holds a 47 percent market share in passenger vehicles in India, is fully utilising its existing production capacity. According to Bhargava, India, which is currently the fifth largest small car market in the world and is set to become the fourth over the next 2-3 years, offers huge potential to carmakers like Maruti.
He said the future will belong to low cost next generation small hybrid cars and Maruti Suzuki, along with SMC, is working aggressively on this technology as no global market has these cars in large numbers. Large hybrid cars are seen to be more popular worldwide.
Over 2,000 Balenos exported to Japan
Having begun shipments of the made-in-Manesar Baleno to Japan and Europe in February this year, Maruti Suzuki India has till now exported over 2,000 units to parent Suzuki Motor Corp. The Baleno is the first made-in-India model to be exported to SMC.
Commenting on the Japanese market’s reception to the premium hatchback, Bhargava says it is too early to assess how Japanese consumers have responded to the Baleno as it usually takes a year to make a judgement based on the degree of success attained.
“Till now the feedback is that it is okay. I can’t say that exports to Japan are very successful as the Japanese customer is very choosy and does not accept foreign cars very easily. The only foreign brands that are popular and have been successful in Japan are German and US models.”
If the India-made Baleno finally turns out to be a success in Japan, then it would mark a turning point of being the first time that an Indian manufacturer has seen popularity in the Japanese market.
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