Suzuki sideswipes Tata small car

Written by Corporate Bureau | New Delhi, Dec 11 | Updated: Dec 12 2007, 07:20am hrs
Corporate battles seem to be the flavour of the month. Even as conflict rages in the telecom sector between GSM operators and Reliance Communications Ltd over spectrum allocation, on Tuesday Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) chairman Osamu Suzuki opened another front in the auto sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of an industry conference in the capital, Suzuki, who is on a three-day visit to the country, expressed doubts about Tata Motors credentials as a responsible automaker.

Replying to a question on Suzukis preparedness in response to the Tatas Rs 1-lakh car, Suzuki said, In case there is sacrifice on safety and emission norms, the manufacturer does not truly shoulder the responsibility of an auto manufacturer.

SMC of Japan holds a majority stake in Maruti Suzuki Ltd, the countrys largest passenger car manufacturer with 55.86% domestic marketshare. The company, whose forte is the small car segment, has not taken kindly to homegrown auto major Tata Motors plans for the Rs 1-lakh car, which is scheduled to be unveiled next year.

Swiftly responding to Suzukis remarks, Tata Motors said it was conscious of its responsibilities. As an auto manufacturer of more than 60 years standing, Tata Motors is conscious of its responsibilities, and all its vehicles have met all the norms and regulations of the countries where they are marketed in, a Tata Motors spokesperson said.

This is not the first time that the SMC chief has expressed doubts over the Rs 1-lakh car of Tata Motors. A couple of years ago, he had doubted the very feasibility of such a car and wondered if the product would be a three-wheeler.

However, Maruti Suzuki has time and again reiterated that the small car from Tata Motors would not affect its sales and would, instead, expand the market as a whole by luring two-wheeler owners to upgrade to a four-wheeler.

While speaking about the companys plans to increase exports, Suzuki said that port capacity in India severely limited shipments, particularly of autos. He said the government should enhance port capacity and promote the development of railways, as well as roads and highways.