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After GM, Maharashtra woos Honda

November 21, 2006 11:42 IST

After successfully marketing the state to American auto giant General Motors and German automaker Volkswagen, the Maharashtra industry department now wants Japanese auto major Honda to come to the state.

After missing out on the India entry of car manufacturers, such as Hyundai, Ford and Toyota in the late nineties and the early part of this decade, the Maharashtra government reworked its strategy and came out with an industrial policy. The new policy has started showing results since 2005.

Last year, the state government had signed an MoU with foreign and Indian automobile majors to attract an investment of more than Rs 7,000 crore (Rs 70 billion) to the state.

Sources in the industry ministry said, "We had two to three rounds of talks with the Honda management. But, they are also in talks with other states too and hence we are keeping our fingers crossed.

"But, we are confident that we will be able to convince the Honda management, just as we successfully pursued GM, Volkswagen, Mahindra &Mahindra, Bajaj, Tata Motors and others."

A senior Honda management team from Japan will be visiting Maharashtra any time now, the sources said.

Though the sources declined to give details of the likely investment by Honda, they said it will be more than double the largest investment by any of the auto majors in the recently past. Bajaj Auto had invested around Rs 2,000 crore (rs 20 billion), GM around Rs 1,450 crore (Rs 14.5 billion) and Volkswagen about Rs 1,250 crore (Rs 12.5 billion).

The state has been home to Indian auto manufacturers, such as Tata Motors, Bajaj, Mahindra & Mahindra and Force Motors, for long time.

This has developed a pool of skilled manpower and created a well spread-out vendor network, which are required to maintain quality and these work out to he state's advantage, they added.

Besides, proximity of Pune and Nashik to major ports, such as JNPT, good infrastructure and a good base of technical education and research institutes and a proactive government are some of the areas where Maharashtra is scoring scoring over other states, the sources added.
Makarand Gadgil in Mumbai
Source: