FE Editorial : Driving an economy
Back in the early 1980s, when Japanese two-wheeler major Suzuki first came to India as a junior partner in a passenger car venture with the government of India, Haryana was seen as one of the more progressive states in the country. Over the years, as Maruti Udyog Limited began to indigenise production, a series of Suzuki’s Japanese vendors set up shop in Haryana as joint ventures with local partners—they produced electrical harnesses, steering systems, shock absorbers ... As Suzuki’s Japanese-style manufacturing practices began taking root, Japanese management and quality practices also got popular. Over the last decade, more than half the world’s Deming awards (the Oscars for quality systems) have been won by Indian firms. Cashing in on this Haryana quality boom, Maruti’s expansions were all planned in the state and after Suzuki took control over Maruti, it announced a new plant in the state along with a state-of-art R&D centre complete with a test track.
Over a period of time, however, with reports of labour unrest in the state, some of its allure vanished. While some majors like Hyundai chose to locate at Chennai, others set up base in Maharashtra. In October last year, Suzuki set the cat among the pigeons when it announced the setting up of a one million car facility in Gujarat, a state to which some months before this, Ratan Tata had said he was shifting his Nano project to. With this, the number of automobile firms who had announced Gujarat