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Carmakers ride on big growth plans

autos Updated: Mar 13, 2008 22:45 IST
Deepak Joshi

Automakers in India are in an expansion mode, even as the economic slowdown seen through the past couple of quarters has lately gotten worse.

Most of the leading carmakers, including Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hyundai Motor India Ltd and General Motors India, are ramping up capacities in a bid to boost their presence in one of the world’s fastest growing market. They also want to increasingly use India as an export hub.

Their plans have been further boosted by Finance Minister P Chidambaram decision to reduce excise duties in the budget, a move that has since pushed down car prices and could help domestic car sales regain the momentum of the past year.

The focus is on making most of the domestic and overseas opportunities over the next 2-3 years. Indian automobile industry is expected to sell nearly 2 lakh units of passenger vehicles overseas in 2007-08 and companies have plans to reach out the global market in next few years.

General Motors Asia Pacific head Nick Reilly is arriving here next week for the company’s automotive strategy board meeting in Mumbai. He is also expected to visit GM plant in Talegaon, near Pune. The 1.4 lakh capacity plant will undergo trial production at the same time. The plant will commence production towards the end of the year.

“With our Halol plant already having capacity to manufacture 85,000 units per annum, we will be in a position to make 2.25 lakh units annually from next year,” GM vice-president P. Balendran told the Hindustan Times. The company plans to make a mini car from its Talegaon plant by the end of the year.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki is entering an expansion mode to increase capacity from the current 1 lakh unit level and may touch 1.7 lakh units by the end of the month.