Suzuki head touts VW parts tieup

by Hiroko Nakata

Suzuki Motor Corp. Chairman and CEO Osamu Suzuki stressed Thursday the importance of making common auto parts with its new alliance partner Volkswagen AG in emerging Asian markets.

Suzuki also suggested he would not accept any future offer by the German auto giant to increase its share in Suzuki.

The comments followed the two companies’ capital tieup signed Dec. 9.

Based on the agreement, Volkswagen last Friday bought a 19.9 percent stake in Suzuki for about ¥222 billion, while Suzuki will invest about ¥100 billion in Volkswagen.

“We have been active in such Asian countries as India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam. I think we can help Volkswagen in these countries,” Suzuki told a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan.

“What is important in these countries is how we can manufacture common auto parts to produce and sell many cars,” he continued. “I think we can make our parts and production system common.”

On environmentally friendly technology, Suzuki will pursue all three options — gasoline-electric hybrids, electric vehicles and gasoline engines with higher fuel-efficiency, he said.

“We have to focus all of them because we cannot prioritize any of them,” he said.

Suzuki, however, said the automaker has lagged behind in these technologies.

“So we will need a huge amount of money for research and development. We will learn from Volkswagen in these areas,” he said.

Volkswagen already has a strong presence in the Chinese market. It expects to boost its business in other emerging markets, including India, where Suzuki controls roughly half of the auto market through its strength in compacts. Suzuki tied up with General Motors in 1981 but parted ways last year due to GM’s bankruptcy.