A-Star, showing Suzuki's next
12 December 2007.
Pursuing its plans for long-term
growth, and only a few months after the launch of its
new mini MPV Splash
model at the 2007 International Motor Show (IAA) in
Frankfurt, Suzuki is now preparing the fifth model of
its growth strategy (following the new Swift, Grand
Vitara, SX4 and Splash) to show next month in India,
as a concept.
The small-car specialist will show
some of the forthcoming model's design themes at Auto
Expo 2008 in New Delhi (9-17 January) in the form of
the Concept A-Star.
The new model is an A-segment
five-door hatchback to be powered by an all new Euro
5-compliant 1.0-litre aluminium petrol engine, with
target CO2 emissions lower than 109g/km.
to be made in India and exported to
Like many other automakers focusing
on the most promising emerging markets, Suzuki
attaches great importance to India. The Japanese
carmaker efforts have earned Suzuki more than a 50%
share of the passenger car market there. In the first
eight months of its current fiscal year (April to
November), Maruti Suzuki sold over 466 thousand units
in India. Its full year sales are expected to reach
730 thousand units.
According to the Society of
Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), 1,544,850
passenger vehicles were produced in India the previous
fiscal year (April 2006 - to March 2007, +18% compared
to FY 2005-2006), including 1,238,032 passenger cars
(+18.34%), 222,111 utility vehicles (+13.03%) and
84707 MPVs (+27%). Indian production of commercial
vehicles reached 520 thousand units (+32.9%).
SIAM figures indicate that
domestic sales of passenger vehicles grew by 20.7% in
FY 2006-2007 (compared to FY 2005-2006), to reach
1,379,698 units (1,076,408 passenger cars, 220,199
utility vehicles, 83091 MPVs) while the commercial
vehicles sales grew by 33.28% to reach 467,882 units.
Having been early to recognise
India's potential, Suzuki partnered with the
Government of India to establish Maruti Udyog Limited
(now named Maruti Suzuki India Limited, and an SMC
subsidiary) whose Gurgaon plant began producing cars
in December 1983.
city car with a new 1.0-litre
aluminium petrol engine.
The production model of the Concept
A-Star will be manufactured at Maruti Suzuki India's
Manesar plant, and will be marketed mainly in Europe
and other countries including India. Production is
scheduled to start in October 2008.
The new 1.0-litre aluminium engine
will be produced by Maruti Suzuki India, and a manual
transmission for it will be manufactured by Suzuki
Powertrain India, another SMC subsidiary that's based
beside Maruti Suzuki India's Manesar plant.
Suzuki Powertrain India also
produces a 1.3-litre diesel engine, but SMC announced
that it does not plan to use it in the new production
car as the new 1.0-litre petrol engine is
environmentally superior. SMC is studying options for
small diesel engines for production by Suzuki
Powertrain India in the future.
Given the importance of India to
the Suzuki world strategy, the Corporation is
investing substantially in Maruti Suzuki between
2007-2009. It plans to expand production capacity to
960,000 units per year by March 2010.
Concept A-Star is the first concept
car in which designers from Maruti Suzuki India's
research and development division have been involved
from the initial stage of its styling. As such, it is
also a showcase of Maruti Suzuki India's capabilities.
can also see Suzuki's interesting concept cars at the 2007
Tokyo Motor Show.