Suzuki to unveil 'A Star' at Auto Expo, sell to Nissan on OEM basis

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New Delhi, Dec 11 (UNI) Japanese auto major Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) today said it will sell its concept car 'A Star' to Nissan on an OEM basis in Europe, which will be unveiled at the 9th Auto Expo to be held here in January 2008.

Japan's second largest mini-car maker had signed an agreement last year, under which, Suzuki was to develop and build a new compact car for Nissan, mostly bound for the European market, starting in 2008.

''A Star will be sold by Nissan in Europe on an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) basis under the Nissan badging,'' company Chief Executive Officer Osamu Suzuki told reporters here.

Both companies have an existing OEM supply agreement of Suzuki minicars to Nissan and the supply of automatic transmissions to Suzuki through Nissan's affiliate company Jatco.

''The concept A star will be produced in the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), the production of which will begin in autumn next year,'' Mr Suzuki said.

Sources put the timeline for production of A Star at the Manesar plant by October 2008.

The current capacity of the plant is one lakh units comprising Swift and SX4. The capacity will be hiked to 1.2 lakh units by mid next year and touch three lakh by 2010.

''Of the three lakh units, 1.5 lakh units will be Concept A Star.

One lakh units of Concept will be exported to Europe, while the rest will be for domestic consumption,'' MSIL Managing Director Jagdish Khattar said.

However, Suzuki is yet to decide of the A Star will be available in Japan. '' Currently we have many mini cars in the local market and as now we have not decided in selling the Star in Japan,'' Mr Suzuki said.

Mr Suzuki added that the price of the car will be competitive and for its exports the company will deal in Euro terms to negate any effect of a softening dollar.

Concept A Star is an A-segment 5-door hatchback model and is equipped with Euro-V compliant 1.0 litre aluminium petrol engine.

Mr Suzuki said the car is currently under development and the production will start in Autum next year.

Mr Suzuki explined that the company's focus in the fisrt phase in 2004 was on sporty vehicles and had rolled out SX4 and Swift under this segment.

The present stage, focussed on family vehicles, will see the company produce vehicles like the Splash and A Star.

''Accordingly the company has decided to lauch the Splash in the European market in Spring 2008,'' said Mr Suzuki.

Both the Splash and A Star, though in the 'family' segment of the company, Splash will have a bigger platform then the A Star.

However, the company refused to put a timeline on the launch of Splash in India.

MSIL is already infusing a major investment of Rs 10,000 crore, by 2010, which will include the production of Concept A Star, modernisation of its existing plant and a new series of engine.

SMC will also invest 100 billion yen towards research and development.

UNI

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