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Suzuki touts India-made car’s quality at parity with Japan

Bloomberg

Suzuki Motor Corp., shipping India-built cars to Japan for the first time, said plants in its biggest market are now capable of making vehicles at the same level of quality as factories at home.

The nation’s second-biggest minicar maker began selling the Baleno hatchback, made by its Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. subsidiary, in Japan on Wednesday, according to a statement.

Suzuki said earlier this week it’s planning to sell ¥200 billion ($1.8 billion) of convertible bonds primarily to help fund expansion in India, its biggest market.

Chairman Osamu Suzuki said the company was looking to “dismiss the prejudice” against India-made cars with the Baleno, which is equipped with standard safety features including a radar system that mitigates collisions.

Aside from Nissan Motor Co., almost all of Japanese automakers’ local sales are domestic-made vehicles.

“We have been working on quality in India for three decades,” Suzuki, 86, told reporters at a news conference Wednesday in Tokyo. Suzuki’s India plants are at parity with the company’s Kosai factory in Japan that builds minicar models, including the Alto and Hustler, he said. “There’s no problem with quality.”

Japanese automakers sold 28,610 passenger cars that were made overseas last year, down 7.3 percent from 2014, according to the Japan Automobile Importers Association. Nissan accounted for 72 percent of domestic manufacturers’ registrations of imported passenger cars in 2015.