India to play bigger role in vehicle development: Suzuki

Suzuki Motor Co has said it sees its Indian unit Maruti Suzuki playing a leading role in the development of vehicles for the domestic market, encouraged by the success of the locally developed Vitara Brezza.

''This is our intention and you will start seeing that playing out in coming years,'' Toshihiro Suzuki, chief executive of the Japanese carmaker, told The Economic Times during an interaction on the sidelines of the Paris Motor Show.

''We have big hopes of expanding our market share further,'' Suzuki said. ''The market will grow and we will intensify our product development and network development.

''We are looking at increasing the number of models developed out of India. India can take the lead on some of the projects. We are planning to train more Indian engineers who will work together with Japanese engineers. This is our intention and you will start seeing that playing out in coming years.''

On the success of Renault's Kwid in the entry level car segment and its impact on Maruti Suzuki, he said, ''All the manufacturers look at creating a niche segment (as Kwid has done). We are looking at what niche segments we can create and grow.''

On the plans of small-car specialists like Kia and Daihatsu to enter India, Suzuki said, ''We don't have to do anything special to counter new competition. We will continue to strengthen our ecosystem by bringing in new products, build network and enhance sales and service and experience.''

He said setting up a wing inside is important for shared mobility solutions, but Maruti is always open to discuss about any partnership or look at joint initiatives.

On alternative fuels, Suzuki said ''We already have introduced a mild hybrid system in the Indian market. The infrastructure does not exist for electric cars. We are working on pure electric and pure hybrid cars and India can play a role in the development of products. About market opportunity, the segments are yet to mature.''