Monday, 26 March 2012

Gurgaon factory to only make diesel engines Maruti to shift carmaking to Gujarat

MUMBAI: The loud thumps of the press shop at Maruti Suzuki that helped lay the foundation for Gurgaon to emerge as one of India's most thriving industrial belts will soon be a thing of the past.
After the Japanese carmaker rolled out almost three decades then the first of its iconic Maruti 800s revolutionising the Indian automotive industry, Maruti will cease carmaking at Gurgaon and turn it into an engine-making hub.
"Gurgaon is just too congested to have a car assembly plant. It's no longer an industrial area ... with residential and corporate offices coming up, the massive traffic movement due to large-scale manufacturing of cars often creates huge hindrances," Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava said.
"Based on the observations of Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki Motor Corp (Maruti's parent company), we plan to gradually convert it into an engine and components-making hub." Maruti plans to decongest its 298-acre Gurgaon plant in phases and has already stopped two manually operated car assembly lines this year. It has plans to cut production to 7 lakh cars from a million units a year ago.
Basic carmaking facilities - stamping, paint and assembly - will give way to a 3-lakh diesel engines facility which would eventually set the stage for migrating auto assembly operations to the larger 500-acre Manesar plant, also in Haryana.
Gurgaon's loss will be Gujarat's gain as a new 2 million cars-a-year facility is coming up in Mehsana. "We should take a final decision on Gujarat in the next-six weeks when land allocation is expected to happen,” Bhargava said.
"We have no scope for expansion at Manesar, so any additional capacity will come up in Gujarat and eventually would turn out to be our hub for making cars in India," Bhargava said.
The company is buying two 600-acre chunks of land in Gujarat, where one would be reserved for making cars and the other would be allotted to vendors for components and other ancillary operations.
Flak from residents fed up of endless traffic jams and complaints against noisy manufacturing at odd hours has been plaguing Maruti, which rolled out its first car from Gurgaon in December 1983.
"We have been virtually fighting with the adjoining Residents' Welfare Association that has even led to legal wrangles over our manufacturing operations creating disturbances in the adjoining residential colonies," Maruti Managing Executive Officer (Production) MM Singh said.
Other subjects such as the movement of heavy tractortrailers (long trucks that take part in transporting cars) have clogged several Gurgaon roads and created huge and erratic roadblocks for normal motorised traffic.
Set up as an Indo-Japanese joint venture in the early 1980s, as a successful carmaker coincided with the rise of Indian manufacturing the Maruti emerged the rise of the Indian middle class and the transformation of Gurgaon from a sleepy, rural town into a bustling, high-tech city.
The middle class' choice of family car then was Maruti 800 and its success paved the way for growth of Maruti and Gurgaon as a major manufacturing and services centre.
The past decade, especially the past couple of years, has not been kind with strikes engulfing both Manesar and Gurgaon, throwing normal life in the city out of gear and forcing the company to radically rethink its strategy.Automobile News

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