Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) chairman Osamu Suzuki on Tuesday announced the company's plans to build its next world car in India and said that the car would be showcased at the Auto Expo in January, 2008.
The car is targeted as a family car and would be exported to the European market. The decision to produce the car in India from autumn of 2008 is a part of Suzuki’s strategy to make India a production hub for its global operations.
“Based on the Concept A-Star, the 1-litre car would be manufactured at Manesar facility from the autumn of 2008. The car would be sold in the European and domestic market as well as be sold under the Nissan brand name,” Suzuki added.
The Concept A-Star car will be Euro-V compliant and have an aluminium petrol engine with CO2 emission levels lower than those of European competitors, he said.
In a veiled criticism of Tata Motors’ proposed Rs1 lakh car, Suzuki said the quest for lower pricing should not lead to a compromise in quality and safety norms. "In case there is a sacrifice on safety and emission norms, the manufacturer does not truly soldier the responsibility of an auto manufacturer,” he said.
He refused to comment on the proposed $3,000 cars of French car maker Renault and South Korea's Hyundai but said: “We do not know whether it is ex-factory price or retail price.” He said he also did not know what safety standards these cars have, adding that unless those parameters were clear it was difficult to comment on the low-cost cars.
Suzuki said plans were also afoot to launch the 'Splash', a 1.2 litre petrol and diesel vehicle in India, but clarified that it would be sold only in the domestic market. The Suzuki chairman said the capacity of the Manesar facility is being increased from the current 1 lakh units to3 lakh units per annum. Suzuki ruled out any plans to phase out the WagonR with the launch of new models.
Reacting to Suzuki’s remarks, a Tata spokesperson said: "As an auto manufacturer of more than 60 years' standing, Tata Motors is conscious of its responsibilities, and all its vehicles have met and will meet all the norms and regulations of the countries where they are marketed."