Describing the Manesar plant violence as the biggest challenge in his career, Maruti Suzuki managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi has said the incident has put a "bad dot" in the company's history.
"It is the biggest challenge in my career. I have put a bad dot in the company's history," Nakanishi, who has been associated with Maruti Suzuki India since inception, said.
The company's General Manager (HR) Awanish Kumar Dev was killed and 100 others injured in the violence the broke out at the Manesar plant on Wednesday.
Candidly admitting that he was taken by surprise by the turn of events, Nakanishi said: "I really don't know why this is happening. After last year's strike, we thought the 'shadow of outside' was removed and thus the new union at Manesar was recognised."
After three incidents of labour unrests last year, in October the company had reached an agreement with the workers, following which Maruti Suzuki Workers' Union was recognised.
The company had opposed to outside affiliation of the union, which was finally agreed by the workers.
Nakanishi wondered if there was still outside influence on its workforce.
"If there is a shadow of outside now, there is a mistake on our part (in understanding the workers) or they are really good at hiding it from us," lamented Nakanishi, who took over as Managing Director of Maruti Suzuki India on December 19, 2007.
Asked if there was a communication gap with the workers, he said: "If there has been a lack of communication with the workers, then we need to improve it."
Nakanishi has been associated with Maruti Suzuki from the time the company was set up and started operations in 1983.
From 2002 to December 2007, he was the non-executive chairman of the company.
He has had several overseas assignments covering Suzuki Motor Corporation's operations in China, Indonesia, West Europe, Hungary, Pakistan and the Middle East.
Maruti to postpone new 800cc car launch
Maruti Suzuki has also said the launch of its new 800 cc small car will be delayed from its proposed schedule during Diwali this year due to the violence at Manesar plant.
"Yes, we have to reschedule the launch of the 800 cc car because of the violence at Manesar plant," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Managing Director Shinzo Nakanishi said.
He, however, said if the company is able to recover quickly from the impact, the launch may take place as planned.
The company had earlier said it will introduce a new 800cc car during Diwali this year that will be more fuel efficient, but also more expensive, than its existing best selling model Alto.
(With PTI inputs)