New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India, the largest car manufacturer in India has opened a new petrol engine plant. The plant has an annual manufacturing capacity of 240, 000 fuel-efficient KB series petrol engines, which will be mainly used for Suzuki's new model A-Star due for launch in India.
Shinzo Nakanishi, Maruti Suzuki India managing director told journalists, "The new engine series is an important step towards attaining the target sales of a million units in the domestic market by 2010-11. Maruti has invested Rs1,200 crore in developing the 998cc, all aluminium, three-cylinder engine.
He said the plant had an operational capacity of a million units. He also said the new engine being manufactured at the plant was highly fuel efficient while also offering best in refinement and performance and would take engine technology to the next level in India he added.
The company plans to launch the A-star in India in October and start exports from December or January 2009.
The KB series engine, which will debut with the A-Star, will also be used in the Splash, which is due mid 2009. The engine family will span engines from the 1 litre (A-Star) to 1.4 litre engine. After the launch of the A-Star the new KB engine will be introduced into other models such as in the redesigned Alto and Nissan Pixo.
The new KB series engine complies with BS III emission norms as well as Euro IV and Euro V standards and it will also power the export models of the company.
''Over the next three to five years, most of our cars would be powered by the new family of engines,'' Nakanishi said.
The current slowdown and financial crisis will impact Maruti Suzuki's second quarter profitability. Nakanishi described the situation as very tough and added that ''all companies are suffering in terms of profitability and we are no exception.''
However, he said Maruti Suzuki will not cut prices even though commodity prices have dropped. According to him commodity prices had not dropped sufficiently and as such the M800 could not be made any cheaper to compete Tata Motors' Rs1-lakh car, the Nano.
Stressing on the fact that there was ''no cash flow problem'' at Maruti and instead of laying off people the company was in looking at hiring more people Nakanishi said. He said Maruti is also strengthening its R&D centre and will increase its current strength of 570 engineers to 1,000 by 2010.