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Suzuki Motor to build new EV battery plant in India

Compact car specialist looks to cash in on wave of electrification

A Suzuki auto plant in the western Indian state of Gujarat: The Japanese automaker plans to build a new plant to make EV batteries as it looks to lift sales of electric cars in the country.

TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor said Saturday that it will build a new factory in India to make EV batteries, with an aim to have the plant up and running in 2025 or 2026.

The Japanese automaker intends to invest a total of around 150 billion yen ($1.26 billion) on the new plant, and to increase production of electric vehicles in India. Suzuki hopes to expand sales of EVs in the country as the government promotes electric cars as part of its decarbonization effort.

Plans for the new factory were officially announced at an economic forum held after a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on March 19. At the meeting with Modi, Kishida unveiled a plan to invest 5 trillion yen in the South Asian nation over the next five years.

The battery plant will be set up near an existing Suzuki auto factory in the western state of Gujarat.

From fiscal 2021 to 2025, Suzuki intends to spend a total of 2.2 trillion yen on research and development and capital investment. Of the total, about 1 trillion yen will go for R&D, most of which will be earmarked for development of EVs.

Suzuki hopes to roll out affordable EV models in both Japan and India as early as 2025, which it hopes will allow it to capitalize on an expected wave of automobile electrification.

Suzuki already has a joint-venture battery factory that it operates with Japanese electronics companies Toshiba and Desno in Gujarat. The batteries manufactured at that plant are installed in hybrid cars. With the addition of a new EV battery plant, Suzuki hopes to gain an edge in India's EV market.

Suzuki currently has three auto plants in the states of Haryana and Gujarat which make a total of about 2.25 million cars a year.

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