BUSINESS

Suzuki, GM initiative on fuel cell cars

Suzuki's new concept car

Suzuki's new concept car "Mobile Terrace" displayed during the press preview day of the 37th Tokyo Motor Show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, east of Tokyo, on Wednesday. — AP  

Suzuki's new concept car "Mobile Terrace" displayed during the press preview day of the 37th Tokyo Motor Show at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, east of Tokyo, on Wednesday. — AP

TOKYO OCT. 22. Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) has declared that it will collaborate with its Indian subsidiary Maruti Udyog Ltd. (MUL) to develop small cars not just for the sub-continent but also for the global markets.

Indicating this to visiting Indian journalists at the preview of the Tokyo Motor Show here today, the Chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation, Osamu Suzuki, said, "MUL is an important overseas venture for us. We will collaborate with it for developing new models for the global markets. Such models will also be popular in India.''

At an informal meeting with the Indian press, Mr. Suzuki said he was not having any major concerns over the fact that post-divestment, Maruti had 46 per cent shares held by others. Nevertheless, he said, "We respect the owners of 46 per cent shares in MUL.''

Asked to react on the possible move by the Indian Government to dilute its stake in the joint venture further through the ADR (American Depository Receipts) route, Mr. Suzuki felt that the question needed to be posed to the Indian Government.

Elaborating on his company's collaboration with General Motors, Mr. Suzuki said both organisations were working together to bring out fuel cell vehicles in the small car segment. The concept car — MR Wagon FCV — unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, would be based on eco-friendly fuel technology and built on the "Hy Wire'' platform being developed by General Motors, he added. At a press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show, BoB Lutz, Vice President (product development) of General Motors, said the work on the fuel cell programme was progressing apace.

Unveiling Suzuki's new three dimensional logo, the SMC's President and Chief Operating Officer, H. Tsuda, said the launch of MR Wagon signalled the introduction of fuel cell technology in small cars. The other car, developed in collaboration with GM is Mobile Terrace. There will be enough space for four people and luggage even while carrying two high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

At the motor show, General Motors announced its intention to intensify presence in the Japanese market through the launch of seven new products over the next nine months. The GM' latest initiative in Japan would be spearheaded by its powerful Cadillac and Cheverolet brands. Mr. Lutz said the company had entered into arrangements with Suzuki and Isuzu to get a wider distribution network in Japan.

Giants in the automobile industry such as Toyota, Fiat, Honda, Audi, BMW, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Ford and Volvo in the car segment participated in the show. Big names such as Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Harley-Davdison are showcasing their range of mini to most powerful motorcycles.

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