German carmaker Volkswagen, which holds 19.9 per cent stake in Suzuki Motor Corp, is understood to have identified Maruti Suzuki India’s small car ‘A-Star’ to sell in the overseas markets.
According to sources, Volkswagen (VW) has chosen the car for marketing and selling in the European markets through its own network.
“When VW team visited the facilities of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), ‘A-Star’ figured prominently because of the car’s global appeal. Both the global carmakers are now discussing how to source the car and how it is likely to be marketed by VW,” a source said.
The understanding will obviously not be an exclusive one and MSI will continue to sell the car in its existing overseas markets, he added.
When asked about the development, MSI Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said, “I believe some discussions are going on, but I don’t know anything as these are being discussed between our parent Suzuki and VW.”
He said that so far no decision has been taken by the companies regarding ‘A-star’
‘A—Star’, which was launched in European markets in February 2009, is the flagship export model of MSI and is currently being exported to about 100 countries. The company markets the car as ‘Alto’ in Europe, while in other regions it is sold as ‘Celerio’
Besides, Japanese carmaker Nissan sells ‘A-Star’ in Europe as ‘Pixo’ under a contract manufacturing agreement with MSI’s parent Suzuki.
In 2009, VW had picked up 19.9 per cent stake in Suzuki Motor Corp (SMC) for USD 2.5 billion, following which the partners have been exploring possibilities of joint production and vehicle design.
Both the global car majors had said that there was a possibility to announce India-specific plans, including joint production and vehicle design by early this year.
Another discussion point between SMC and VW is about bringing in advanced diesel technology into India from the German carmaker’s portfolio as MSI lacks in that front.
While SMC is keen to get VW’s technology, the German firm is interested in MSI’s expertise in high volume production at a very competitive cost and efficiency.
A new entrant in India, VW is yet to gain firm ground. In contrast, MSI is the largest brand with about 50 per cent share in the 15 lakh units Indian car market.