Maruti Suzuki churns out 1m cars a year

NEW DELHI: Japanese-controlled Maruti Suzuki, India’s biggest passenger car company, said yesterday it had joined the global club of carmakers producing at least a million vehicles a year.

General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Ford and Honda are among the vehicle companies in the select group.

Maruti Suzuki, 54.2 per cent owned by Suzuki Motor Corp, is the “first Indian automobile company to join the million club,” the company said in a statement.

Suzuki Motor chairman Osamu Suzuki attended a ceremony at the company’s plant in Manesar near New Delhi to mark the milestone and announced new plans to invest 50 billion yen ($555 million) in India as competition heats up in the country’s fast-growing car market.

“All world-class manufacturers are entering India and we are facing severe competition here,” the Suzuki chairman told reporters.

India is the Japanese company’s biggest foreign market, and Suzuki Motor is anxious to fend off global rivals such as Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors which are aggressively seeking to boost sales in the country. “We achieved one million units but to achieve production of two million... will be a tough journey,” the Suzuki Motor chairman said.

Half of the 50 billion yen to be invested will be spent on expanding engine production and the other half on setting up a research and development facility.

Company officials also laid the foundation stone

for Maruti’s plant expansion at Manesar which will

see the facility producing 550,000 units a year

from 300,000.