India-made Suzuki cars to head for Europe next year

India-made Suzuki cars to head for Europe next year

New Delhi: Japan’s Suzuki Motor Co. said it will start exporting a new made-in-India small car to Europe from October next year as it seeks to expand sales in the continent.

Suzuki said it will export 100,000 units a year of the model, which will be based on the concept car A-star that will be unveiled at the New Delhi Auto Show next month, in addition to selling 50,000 units locally. This car will be made only in India, said Osamu Suzuki, chairman and managing director of the Japanese company.

Suzuki is spending Rs10,000 crore in expanding production at its Indian unit, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd by almost one-third, to nearly one million units by 2010 as it seeks to hold on to its 50% market share in Asia’s third largest automobile market.

The new vehicle, which will meet the Euro V emission standards, will have a one litre engine.

Separately, the company will also introduce a larger hatchback modelled on the concept car Splash in Europe next year and at an unspecified date in India, said Maruti’s managing director-designate Shinzo Nakanishi.

Earlier in response to a query on the proposed Rs100,000 car from rival Tata Motors Ltd, Suzuki said: “If there is sacrifice on safety and emission norms, the manufacturer does not truly shoulder the responsibility of an auto manufacturer."

“As an auto manufacturer of more than 60 years standing, Tata Motors is conscious of its responsibilities, and all its vehicles have met all the norms and regulations of the countries where they are marketed in," a Tata Motors spokesperson said.

Later in the day when asked to elaborate on his statement, Suzuki said he didn’t want to comment on the Rs100,000 car from Tata or the $3,000 (Rs118,200) car from Bajaj Auto Ltd in partnership with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co., since he didn’t know the specifications of this car.

Suzuki sells the cheapest cars in the country, at present, the Maruti 800, which retails at Rs200,000.