Auto industry recovering from crisis: former Maruti chief

January 28th, 2009 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Jan 28 (IANS) Former managing director of Maruti Suzuki Jagdish Khattar Wednesday said the condition of the slowdown-hit auto industry was improving since November.”What we are seeing is a slowdown, and not an economic meltdown. The companies had problems in last October and November, but since then the scene has turned for the better,” Khattar said.

He was speaking to reporters here on the sidelines of the West Bengal launch of his new venture, Carnation Auto - a multi-brand auto sales and service venture.

“The panic is being created because of reports carried by the print and electronic media. Yes, there is some problem of finances. But otherwise, I don’t see much problem for the auto industry here,” Khattar, the managing director of Carnation Auto, said.

He also announced a strategic partnership with auto dealers Lexicon Group for setting up multi-brand auto service centres.

The first such centre will come up in the middle of this year in the city, followed by two more in Siliguri and Durgapur. “We will have four workshops by the end of next year,” said Lexicon MD Harish Himatsingka.

On his pan-India plans, Khattar said Carnation would invest Rs.10 billion (Rs.1,000 crore) in the next four years.

With Azim Premji’s Premji Invest pumping in Rs.800 million and Industrial Finance Corp of India (IFCI) pitching in with Rs.280 million, Carnation is already worth Rs.2.5 billion, he said.

“Our first outlet should be operational in Noida of Uttar Pradesh latest by March. By the end of next year, we will have outlets in 20-25 locations,” he added.

“We are looking at joint ventures outside Delhi. We have already signed two joint ventures for Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. We will ink two more deals in the next couple of months,” he said.

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