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A new product every year: C V Raman

By M4G Bureau - February 07, 2014

Interview with ED (engineering), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

C V Raman, Eexecutive Director (engineering), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), tells Sharmistha Mukherjee and Surajeet Das Gupta once its R&D centre in Rohtak becomes fully operational, it would reduce development time of vehicles. Edited excerpts:

Maruti Suzuki has become the most important subsidiary for parent Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC) over the last few years. Apart from taking the lead in producing and marketing vehicles in emerging markets, what kind of role has MSIL been assigned to play in R&D work for SMC?

We are in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art R&D centre at Rohtak. The test track there is expected to be commissioned by November and the full facility will be operational by 2016-17. Some of the facilities there include passive safety labs, performance and endurance chassis dyno and electromagnetic compatibility. The centre would enable faster problem identification, analysis and incorporation of suitable counter-measures in products.

In terms of technical capability, how competent is the R&D team in India today?

We are now doing application-based work on a given platform, developing the top-hat. It is important for our engineers to be able to work on projects hands-on, take feedback and incorporate changes. Over the next six-eight years, after we have worked on bringing in two-three models, our engineers would be able to make judgements on their own as related to the development process without guidance from Suzuki Japan. Going ahead, over the next 8-10 years, we would like to move to a stage where we can work full-fledged on one product every year.

How much time can you save in the product development process?

Currently, we can make full model changes but we do not have the capability to test vehicles in India. This often delays a project... Usually, it takes 36-48 months to develop a product from the concept stage to the start of production. We can shave off about three-four months.


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