In a hurried and surprise visit to India, Osamu Suzuki, the chairman of Maruti Suzuki's Japanese parent, Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), is expected to attend the carmaker's board meeting in Delhi on Friday where the board of directors would take up the financial results for the third quarter ended December 31, 2012.
While the reason for the unscheduled stop is not yet clear, industry sources said that Suzuki's barely 24-hour-long visit (he is coming on Thursday night) is expected to focus around Maruti's future strategy and expansion plans into Gujarat, coming in the face of sharply increased competition in the domestic car market and falling profits for the car market leader over the last year and half.
“He's the boss, so he can come and attend whichever board meeting he wants. I feel he's giving more importance to the Indian business now than ever before as this market is Suzuki's mainstay and will become more competitive going forward,” a top Maruti official said.
India is now the biggest market for Suzuki with Maruti accounting for 40% of Suzuki's global volumes and around 30% share of the profits.
The 82-year-old SMC chief's visit is being seen as a surprise in the industry given that he usually plans a single trip to India every year for Maruti's annual general meeting. Suzuki was in Delhi in August last year for the AGM, when he also made a trip to Gujarat to meet chief minister Narendra Modi and discuss investment plans.
Other sources indicated that Suzuki may also be coming to give a formal go-ahead for mega-investment plans, or probably to hold talks on Maruti's proposal to set up plants outside India.