TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor has begun shipping finished automobiles by rail from a plant in northern India, aiming to reduce transportation costs and enhance its competitiveness.
The automaker's Indian subsidiary, Maruti Suzuki, began working with a state-owned railway company in the spring to ship Swift subcompacts and Alto 800 cars some 1,700km from the Gurgaon plant in the state of Haryana to Bangalore in the south.
Using rail has shortened the journey to five days from seven and raised the number of vehicles that can be transported at once. This enables plant inventories and indirect costs such as logistics expenses to be reduced.
Suzuki is also implementing environmental measures at its Indian facilities, including installing solar panels to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It aims to lead the way toward realizing both improved shipping efficiency and environmental initiatives in developing countries.
Maruti Suzuki holds a 40% share of India's auto market, but has been waging a fierce battle for market share with such rivals as Hyundai Motor and Honda Motor. Consequently, it is hurrying to cut costs at production sites and in distribution to hone its competitiveness.