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Japan-Update

Suzuki to sharply expand service network in India

Japanese automaker boosting presence to maintain top market share

TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor will significantly increase its repair shop network in India in a bid to remain the leader of a key market, the Japanese automaker said Thursday during a general shareholders meeting.

The company enjoys a 40% market share in India, where its sales rose 11% on the year to 1.44 million vehicles in fiscal 2016, accounting for roughly half of its worldwide sales. But competition is heating up, as major automakers from around the globe push into the South Asian country, attracted by the populous nation's growth potential.

Suzuki "will absolutely defend its top position," CEO Toshihiro Suzuki said during the shareholders meeting in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, where the carmaker is headquartered.

By fiscal 2020, Suzuki aims to lift the number of service and repair shops by 56% to 5,000, of which 3,000 will operate alongside dealerships. The remainder will focus on providing maintenance and repair services.

Toshihiro Suzuki, the eldest son of Chairman Osamu Suzuki and a member of the company's founding family, was named president in June 2015 and assumed the additional post of CEO a year ago. Thursday's shareholders meeting was the first one he chaired. It went without a hitch, as shareholders approved all six motions put forward by the company, including board appointments.

(Nikkei)

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