TOKYO (AP) -- Suzuki Motor Corp. is planning a third vehicle plant in India to keep up with burgeoning sales, the Japanese small-car maker said Monday.
The plant will be up and running, perhaps as early as 2013, at the same site as its plant in the northern town of Manesar with a yearly production capacity of 250,000 vehicles, a company official said.
Suzuki holds a controlling 54 percent stake in Maruti Suzuki Ltd., India's largest car maker.
With the addition of the third plant, and another assembly line that will be up and running by 2012, the production capacity at Manesar for Suzuki Maruti will rise to 800,000 vehicles a year.
The current Manesar plant made 360,000 vehicles last year, such as the Swift compact and SX4 sedan, running on extra shifts, to outpace its production capacity of 300,000, according to Suzuki.
Model plans for the new plant have not been announced.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, an industry body that represents over 40 vehicle manufacturers in India, estimates that car sales for the fiscal year that began April 1 are likely to touch 1.7 million vehicles, a growth of more than 12 percent from the previous fiscal year.
Suzuki is banking on growth in India at a time when demand in Japan is stagnating. Suzuki recently canceled an investment in a project that would have brought together auto-parts suppliers in central Japan.
Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki has also been vocal about the battering from the surging yen, which erodes the value of exporters' overseas earnings. The dollar is now trading at 84-yen levels, approaching a 15-year low it hit last month.
Japanese automakers have been moving production abroad to skirt the risks from currency fluctuations. Suzuki autos sold in India are now almost all manufactured in India.
Ford Motor Co. is also furthering its push into India, announcing plans for eight new vehicle models in India by 2015.