In a development that could propel Gujarat as an auto hub rivalling Tamil Nadu, the state government has decided to allocate over 500 acre to the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki to set up its third facility and its first outside Haryana.
Interestingly, the plant will come up near Sanand — home to Tata Motors’ Nano plant. A government source said the project is an attempt by the state government to develop a cluster of top auto companies on the lines of Detroit, US. Apart from the Tatas and now Maruti, General Motors has a light commercial vehicle plant at Halol in Gujarat.
The plant, expected to be up and running by 2015, would cater mainly to export markets and have an initial capacity of 2.5-3 lakh units. The move is seen as an attempt by Maruti to reduce its dependence on Haryana and diversify operations across the country. While state government officials confirmed the development, a Maruti spokesperson declined to comment.
“Gujarat has a very strong manufacturing base. The government was very prompt in inviting the Tatas after they had to pull out of West Bengal in 2008. Maruti has been looking at Gujarat since then,” the source said. Media reports too have recently said that Maruti was interested in setting up operations in Gujarat but the current weak investment climate in the economy has been a dampener in setting a timeline. The source said that in the last few months, there has been a series of communications and a final announcement could be expected soon. The plant is likely to build the A-Star, Estilo and Swift. Currently, Maruti only exports the A-Star. In 2010-11, Maruti exported 59,450 A-Stars to Europe.
At present, Maruti Suzuki’s capacity is 1.2 million units at its two facilities in Gurgaon and Manesar. The company, which has three assembly lines at Gurgaon, is setting up two more in Manesar which would be operational by 2012-13. This would raise the total installed capacity to 1.7 million. By the time the Gujarat facility comes up, capacity would easily cross 2 million units.
In 2010-11, Maruti Suzuki’s sales