India is already the third biggest automobile manufacturer in the world, but it’s also beginning to flex its muscle in exporting cars to other countries.

Top brands are building cars in India and exporting to Japan, ET reports. Many of these are Japanese brands, which are finding a cost advantage in manufacturing their cars in India and then selling them back into their home market. This phenomenon has been picking up pace in recent quarters. Given how Japanese automakers are the gold standard in manufacturing, this is being seen as a validation of India’s auto sector.


Japan-based Honda’s presence in India is significant, with Honda Cars India Ltd. established in 1995. Honda’s manufacturing facilities in India, located in Tapukara, Rajasthan, have a production capacity of 180,000 units per annum. 

India is the sole production hub for Honda’s Elevate SUV, which is sold as the WR-V in Japan. These exports began in December 2023. The Elevate is also exported to South Africa and Nepal. The entry-level Amaze model, on the other hand, is exported to South Africa, Nepal and Bhutan. “With its cost advantage and commitment to high-quality output, coupled with a robust ecosystem of suppliers and partners, India has emerged as an attractive manufacturing hub,” said Kunal Behl, vice president, Honda Cars India. This reflects Honda Motor Co’s “strong belief” in delivering top-quality products from its Indian operations to global customers, he said.


The seven-seater SUV Meridian made in India by Jeep, part of the Stellantis group, is sold as the Commander in Japan. “The reason why we send our cars to Japan is because the quality of product and the competitiveness is such that it does well in Japan,” said Aditya Jairaj, managing director and CEO, Stellantis India, home to the Citroen and Jeep brands. “Their quality standards are so high, not every plant can send vehicles there, and we qualify.” Along with Japan, Jeep is also looking at the possibility of exporting vehicles to Southeast Asia and South Africa.×280&×280%2C300x600%2C0x0%2C703x280%2C1263x593&nras=4&correlator=2830340878805&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=134670410.1714978438&ga_sid=1714986124&ga_hid=295539721&ga_fc=1&ga_cid=1158393460.1714978438&u_tz=330&u_his=2&u_h=720&u_w=1280&u_ah=680&u_aw=1280&u_cd=24&u_sd=1.5&dmc=8&adx=102&ady=2107&biw=1263&bih=593&scr_x=0&scr_y=0&eid=44759876%2C44759927%2C44759837%2C31082703%2C44719339%2C95328465%2C95331690%2C95331982%2C31083323%2C95331043%2C31078663%2C31078665%2C31078668%2C31078670&oid=2&psts=AOrYGslnRmk7yQfPJot8ZqZu_7uDJVhSFQtTEH9jEID5OZD86Zm8Z4Hgwmo6F0b865xLj9PWaHgF75uM-Lp2KjA&pvsid=4268919194929001&tmod=1697901755&uas=3&nvt=1&fc=384&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1280%2C0%2C1280%2C680%2C1280%2C593&vis=1&rsz=%7C%7Cs%7C&abl=NS&fu=128&bc=31&bz=1&td=1&psd=W251bGwsbnVsbCxudWxsLDNd&nt=1&ifi=6&uci=a!6&btvi=2&fsb=1&dtd=1550


Toyota has had a significant presence in India for over two decades. The company established its Indian subsidiary, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), in a joint venture with the Kirloskar Group in 1997. Since then, TKM has grown to become one of the leading automakers in the country, offering a diverse range of models that cater to various market segments.

“It is the best case point of India’s emergence as a global manufacturing hub of strategic importance,” Toyota India says. While Toyota is yet to firm up plans to export vehicles from the country, it is shipping high-end components including e-drives for its range of hybrids. The e-drive or transaxle combines the electric motor, differential, axle and brake into an integrated assembly.


Suzuki has a long history in India, having previously partnered with Maruti to create India’s biggest automaker. Maruti Suzuki will produce its first EV later this year, and that lot will be exported to Europe and Japan. India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki has been stepping up exports over the last few years. It intends to ship to Japan the “new EV and more products” made in India in the coming months, said Rahul Bharti, executive director, corporate affairs. Plans are also afoot to export the five-door Jimny to Japan. A three-door version is made in India only for export.

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