Suzuki Motor is to shelve a plan to launch a large car line in 2010 and delay the start of overseas factories amid a sharp deterioration in the global car market, the Nikkei business daily reported on Monday, but the news does not faze its UK unit.

Suzuki had planned to introduce a big car based on ‘Kizashi’ concept model with engines up to 3.6 litres, in a bid to attract customers looking to upgrade from smaller vehicles, Reuters noted, adding that Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki last September signalled the likelihood of the project’s cancellation, saying it made little sense to launch a car into a shrinking segment of the market.

That view was echoed by a Suzuki UK spokesman who said that, though he had not received any official notification, its postponement was “quite likely”.

He thought the new car line would be delayed rather than axed completely but stressed it was unlikely to be UK-bound, in any case.

“It’s very unlikely that we’re going to take the car,” he said. “The D-segment is not as big as it was. Bearing in mind we are not major players in the fleet market, which is where a lot of the D-segment cars are, it is better for us to concentrate on our smaller vehicles, what we do best, and also our off-road cars.”

Suzuki has sold larger cars in the US and Canadian markets, sourcing these from GM Daewoo in Korea. It currently sources a pickup truck for these markets from a US Nissan plant.

The Nikkei said Suzuki also plans to postpone plants in Thailand and Russia in 2010.

Another Japanese paper said at the weekend Toyota was halting expansion plans in those same two countries as automakers cut back on capital expediture and production expansion.

Japanese domestic sales for 2008 were the worst since 1974.