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Suzuki-GM alliance to skip India for now

Tokyo, Oct. 22 (PTI): Japanese car maker Suzuki Motor Corp today said it had no immediate plans to tie up with its global alliance partner, General Motors Corp, for the Indian market.

“At present, no alliance with General Motors is taking place in India,” Suzuki chief Osamu Suzuki, who came here for the presentation of General Motors in the Tokyo Motor Show, said.

General Motors Asia-Pacific president Frederick Henderson, however, expressed keenness for an alliance with Suzuki in India where the Japanese company holds just over 54 per cent stake in Maruti Udyog, the country's largest car maker.

“So far, Suzuki had an objective that they had to fulfil in Maruti. Now, the company may take off,” Henderson said.

General Motors, the world's largest automaker, now has 20 per cent stake in Suzuki.

Suzuki had recently increased its stake in Maruti to little over 54 per cent after the Indian government closed its option of participating in preferential shares for a consideration of Rs 1,000 crore.

Industry watchers had speculated that there would be some synergy between Suzuki, General Motors and Fiat for the Indian market to cut costs and improve operational efficiencies.

General Motors also has about 20 per cent stake in Italian automaker Fiat Spa.

Both General Motors and Fiat have their separate subsidiaries in India.

Motorcycle venture

Putting behind the bitter memory of separation from joint venture partner TVS Motor in 2001, Suzuki has announced that it would start motorcycle production in India by 2005 with an investment of $10 million.

“We will start production from the autumn of 2005 in India,” Shinzo Nakanishi, who has just been given the charge of the Indian motorcycle venture, told visiting newspersons here.

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