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Maruti prepares for bigger role in Suzuki’s development programme

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is preparing for a bigger role in product development programme of parent Suzuki, buoyed by the success of Vitara Brezza in which its engineers took the lead.

From beginning to work on minor changes on erstwhile model Zen in 2000 to a full body change of small car Alto in 2008-09 and ultimately being asked to develop a vehicle on a given platform and an engine, MSI has been enhancing capability of its engineers.

The company is now looking to build further on the experience of developing compact SUV Vitara Brezza, according to MSI executive director, engineering, C V Raman.

“This has taken us one step higher. Our engineers are able to learn how to develop a full model on a given platform, use the Suzuki global development process, understand engineering test standards, make own judgements and take decisions,” he told PTI.

Today MSI engineers are doing a lot of workshare with Suzuki, Raman said, while adding, “we have to ensure that the engineers working in Maruti and engineers working in Suzuki are at par”.

However, he said it has been a process of playing catch up as Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) engineers also constantly upgrading their capabilities working on new technologies.

When asked if there would be a possibility for MSI to work on another project like the Vitara Brezza, he said: “Definitely. We will get more opportunities because as the volumes increase we have to look for new segments and new products. So maybe we may work on something in future.”

He hastened however to add that such a thing could happen only after 2020 as at present MSI engineers are occupied preparing for BS-VI emission norms and safety regulations that will come into force in the next few years.

Besides, the company is also gearing up for new models that are to be launched in the next few years. “We will be doing our workshare with Suzuki on BS-VI, where some of the models they will do and for some models we may do the application development testing,” Raman said.

On the possibility of a wider role for MSI engineers in which they play major role for SMC’s global product that may not necessarily be sold in India, Raman said: “Such a possibility exists in future.”

MSI has invested Rs 3,800 crore in developing its R&D centre at Rohtak in Haryana. Spread over 600 acres, the first phase of the project was completed in November 2015 while the second phase is expected to be completed in March 2019.

It has 31 km long test track with 33 different types of tracks for simulating different driving conditions. The facility also houses crash test centre. The strength of MSI’s R&D team has grown to over 1,400 at present from 300 back in 2000.

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