Suzuki Motor expects to make its Indian unit a major production hub and pursue an aggressive strategy to retain its dominant market share in India, the unit's new managing director was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Maruti Suzuki India, in which Suzuki owns 54.2%, said earlier this month it would make 150,000 units of the new A-Star hatchback in its Manesar plant in northern India from October 2008 and export them to Europe first, Reuters noted.

The company, which is expanding its capacity to hit 1m units by 2010, will launch other models that will upgrade consumers from its popular small cars such as the Alto and Zen Estillo, Shinzo Nakanishi told the news agency a day after taking over as managing director.

"We have an aggressive plan for new model launches," Nakanishi, who has previously worked in China, Indonesia, Hungary, Pakistan and the Middle East, told Reuters.

"Suzuki is expanding its image from a maker of minicars and small cars to a company that offers the full range of models -- with the launch of models like Swift and SX4," he said.

Reuters noted that, for the first time, Maruti sold more cars in India than its parent in Japan during the first half of the fiscal year.

"Maruti Suzuki is ready to play a much bigger role in Suzuki's global operations," the new chief said.

"Its manufacturing capability has reached a level where we want to make small cars exclusively in India for export to Europe."

Of the 3m cars that Suzuki wants to sell worldwide by fiscal 2010, Maruti Suzuki will account for a third, Reuters added.