Suzuki Motor plans to boost Indian passenger car production capacity to 1.45m vehicles a year in 2012, passing Japanese output for the first time.

Citing citing company president Shinzo Nakanishi, Japanese business daily Nikkei said Maruti Suzuki India would spend JPY2bn to JPY4bn (US$21m-$43m) this year to upgrade two existing factories, hiking capacity from 1m units now to 1.2m.

Maruri will soon launch a new Swift line, replacing the current model which was a hit when first launched, drawing waiting lists up to six months long.

Suzuki plans the new investment to maintain Indian market share of about 50% amid growing demand and intensifying competition from the likes of Hyundai which also uses its local facilities as an export base to serve markets such as Europe.

“We’ll improve efficiency in such processes as painting,” Nakanishi was quoted as saying.

Maruti is also spending INR17bn ($360m)) building a third plant, scheduled to open in spring 2012 and able to make 250,000 units a year.

Current annual Japanese capacity is about 1.4m.