Bumpy ride for Maruti in Gujarat

Written by Ronojoy Banerjee | Ronojoy Banerjee | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 7 2012, 08:42am hrs
Hit hard by dwindling sales in the current fiscal, the country's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki, could postpone the commissioning of its Gujarat plant. A final decision would, however, be taken at the board meeting on January 23, managing executive officer, administration (HR, finance and IT), SY Siddiqui, told FE.

How we evaluate the growth of the sector going forward and the trends in the market would be discussed during the board meeting. The timing of the plant (at Gujarat) is coming into consideration now, he said. On Thursday, the company had said that it expected its sales in 2010-11 to be lower than the previous fiscal.

Siddiqui said that the company has learnt from the episode of relentless labour strikes that hit the operations of the Maruti's Manesar plant costing a production loss of 1 lakh vehicles.

If there was one thing that we could have done better was in terms of improving the communications (with the workers). Production at Manesar last year was very high, he said. Siddiqui was one of the chief negotiators for the management with the workers during the three bouts of labour trouble the company faced.

The younger workforce today is very different from what it was a generation back. We have to give the younger workforce room for empowerment and space to grow with the organisation. We want to increase communications to such an extent that outsiders do not make inroads into the company, he said. As part of its future hiring plans, Siddiqui said that the company would look at recruiting around 365 people for the second plant at its Manesar facility.

In the last six months, the company has hired up to 240 people for the manufacturing unit. Most of the new recruits are diploma engineers and have technical training skills, he said. In the April-December fiscal, the company has, so far, hired 900 people. On Friday, Maruti unveiled its global multi-purpose vehicle Ertiga, which is expected to go on sale by the end of March. We would like to start the sale of this car as quick as possible. But possibly, the commercial roll-out would begin by end of March or beginning of April this year, said Shinzo Nakanishi, MD and CEO of the company.