Suzuki Motor has pledged large investment in its biggest overseas market, India, with plans to invest over $770 million to build new production facilities and develop a new range of midsized saloons to compete against rivals like Honda and Toyota who have made profitable strides into the segment with the City and Corolla.
Suzuki has decided on mid-sized cars as its new target segment for growth to buffer its dominant position in small cars.
Its first new car is likely to be a Swift three-box saloon spin-off from its recently redesigned hatchback line aimed at the entry level midsize segment.
The fresh investment to develop a saloon range is an attempt to enhance Suzuki’s image among Indian car buyers from just being a volume car maker. Though its image is good here, it does work to its disadvantage with midsize cars.
A large proportion of the investment, about $US470 million will be channeled into Suzuki’s new joint venture company Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, and the remaining $300 million will be used by Maruti Udyog.
“Our intention is to retain our share of the passenger car market in India and build the capability to produce one million units a year by 2010. These investments are aimed at achieving this target,” said Suzuki Motor senior MD and Maruti chairman, Shinzo Nakanishi.