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Suzuki targets to sell 5 million units in India in 2030

Carmaker plans to double new models and triple dealers

Suzuki Motor Executive Vice President Kenichi Ayukawa unveils the all-new Suzuki Swift compact in India, where it controls 50% of the market.

TOKYO -- Suzuki Motor laid out an ambitious vision for its future in India to maintain its dominant presence by selling 5 million vehicles there in 2030.

The Japanese carmaker will triple its sales resources in India and sharply ramp up its local production capacity to achieve the sales target, which is more than three times the figure for fiscal 2017.

The highly ambitious target is based on the company's estimate of overall new car sales in the country in 2030 -- 10 million, or more than three times the current size -- and rooted in its determination to maintain control of half the market, said Chairman Osamu Suzuki at a regular shareholders' meeting. Suzuki said the new target was an increase from the current strategy of expanding production capacity to crank out 2.25 million cars annually.

In fiscal 2017, 3.28 million new cars were sold in India, up about 8% from the previous year. Suzuki sold half of those vehicles.

Under its new long-term business strategy for India, Suzuki will increase the number of models it sells in the market to over 30 from the current 16 while expanding its dealership network to around 10,000 from the current 2,700 or so outlets. The number of sales representatives will be tripled to 120,000 from 40,000 and repair and maintenance workers will be driven up to 100,000 from 30,000.

The Indian car market has been growing at an annual rate of around 9%. Suzuki said that he expects electric vehicles to account for 30% of the market in the future, given the government's push for cleaner cars.

But the company needs cooperation from suppliers and dealers to enhance its production and sales resources. Suzuki uses 90% local parts for the cars it makes in India, which means that its production costs are lower.

Typically, it takes a carmaker three to four years to develop a new model and two to three years to expand its production lines. But Suzuki said that to develop the staff it needs for such an expansion will take five to 10 years.

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