Japan's Suzuki Motor, the parent of India's biggest car-maker Maruti Suzuki, has postponed the opening of a new plant in Gujarat by a few months, Nikkei Asian Review reported. The plant, which was originally scheduled to go online in April 2020, will now begin operating next July, it added.

The Gujarat plant is owned by Suzuki Motor Gujarat, a unit of Suzuki Motor. Suzuki's first factory in Gujarat opened in 2016-17, with two assembly lines of 250,000 units each. The third and final assembly line of 250,000 vehicles is slated to go online next year.

Maruti has a factory each in Gurugram and Manesar in Haryana, with a total capacity of about 1.5 million vehicles a year.

India's auto sector has gone into a tailspin this year as tight liquidity, high taxes and an economic slowdown have sapped consumers' buying power.

"We no longer think that growth in India will be an uninterrupted move upwards," Suzuki President Toshihiro Suzuki cautioned, as cited by Reuters. Maruti's sales, which were growing till January, has slipped every month over February-September 2019.

Global players like Ford, Volkswagen and Fiat are already re-evaluating their strategy as they struggle to make inroads in a market dominated by small cars.

Ford has agreed to sell a majority stake in its India arm to Mahindra & Mahindra, ending its independent operations in the country after two decades and highlighting the challenges automakers face in growing profitably in Asia's third-largest economy. (With Agency Inputs)

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