India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki is eagerly waiting for the opening of the Gujarat plant of its parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) to ease the pressure of the current two plants in Manesar and Gurgaon. The latest reports say that work at the Mehsana plant in Gujarat is on schedule and the first car to be rolled out of the plant will the Baleno in January 2017.
RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, said last week that the company expects to cut down the waiting period issue for popular models such the Vitara Brezza and the Baleno once the Gujarat plant starts production. Autocar Professional's report on Baleno to be the first model from Gujarat unit is in line with RC Bhargava's comments.
Maruti Suzuki will be targeting around 85,000 units for the Baleno from the Gujarat plant initially, of which around half will be the 1.3-litre diesel variant. The Indo-Japanese outfit already divulged plans to export the Baleno from India to over 100 countries. It has been touted that the Baleno will be the key product from the Gujarat plant.
The Gujarat plant has been developing with a total investment of Rs. 18,500 crore. The factory will have a capacity to make 2,50,000 vehicles annually in the initial phase. Maruti Suzuki plans to produce 2 million vehicles per year by 2022 in India, up from the 1.4 million at present. A major chunk of the planned production is expected to move to the Gujarat plant.
On Baleno, Maruti Suzuki has delivered 64,000 units in the domestic market and has a six month waiting period depending upon the variant. The second model to be sold through Maruti Suzuki's Nexa premium dealership, Baleno has garnered over one lakh bookings by March and it currently has over 45,000 booking is yet to be served.