India's largest carmaker Maruti rolls out five millionth car

By agencies   |   Wednesday, 27 April 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI:India's largest carmaker Maruti, jointly owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor and Indian Government today rolled out its five millionth vehicle since operations started twenty years ago.

"It has taken us 20 years to reach the five million mark. With your good wishes, we will try to achieve the next five million in half the time," Maruti managing director Jagdish Khatter said.

Maruti's bread and butter small car named “800” became popular when it was launched in December 1983 at a time when the venerable Ambassador was virtually the only model available in India.

A host of global carmakers have since entered India and Maruti's share of the expanding market has declined from over 80 percent in the 1990s to around 60 percent.

Maruti will invest $750 million in a new car plant and an engine and transmission facility in Manesar, in Haryana, to expand production.

The company sold 536,301 vehicles in India and for export during the financial year ended March. The Indian government sold its majority stake in the company as part of a privatisation drive and in May 2002 Maruti finally became a Suzuki subsidiary.

Suzuki now holds a 54.2 percent stake in Maruti while the Indian government has 18 percent. Indian retail investors hold the rest.

The demand for cars has boomed in India against a backdrop of rising affluence among a burgeoning middle classes and strong economic growth.

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