Always wondered as a kid how cars were built, how they come to life and what goes on behind the scenes to make one. Later on due to my profession, I have been lucky enough to visit many car companies to see the manufacturing process. The recent one being India’s largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki at Manesar. Now what makes this visit different? To start off with, Maruti Suzuki will launch the New Dzire later next week and we were lucky enough to see the New Dzire been built… making this visit very different to see an soon-to-be/launched car model being brought to life at this amazing manufacturing unit.
First things first, Maruti-Suzuki is India’s largest car maker for a long time. Their story started in 1982 when Maruti Udyog Limited was formed with a partnership between the Indian Government and Suzuki Motors Japan, with 74% stake being the Government’s and 24% being that of Suzuki. The initial manufacturing unit came up at Gurgaon and the 2nd, more recent unit, came up at Manesar. A 3rd brand new manufacturing unit is also underway in Gujarat. We visited the Manesar plant where, the outgoing Swift Dzire was built till some time back and currently the Alto, Swift, Ciaz, Baleno, Celerio and the soon to be launched New Dzire are built.
The Manesar unit started in 2006 and is spread across 600 acres. The company has a combined manufacturing capacity of 1.5 million units at Manesar and Gurgaon. On an average, 3100 cars are produced a day at Manesar and 2700 are built at the Gurgaon plant. The production is so high that one car rolls out every 10 seconds between the two plants. 16 models and a total of 1075 variants in all are built at both these plants. Around 4000 trailer trucks go out daily from here loaded with produced cars. Production is for the Indian market and also exported to 110 countries globally, including Japan where the ‘Made in India’ Baleno sells. This plant has an efficiency rate of 98% with 960 minutes of work time among the shifts. More than 100% of utilization is underway currently for the plant.
The plant basically has the Press Shop (the steel is pressed using dyes and latest press machines into body panels), Weld Shop (welding the pressed body panels together using latest weld machines), Paint Shop (capable of painting 48 colors in a single sequence), Assembly shop (using the latest assembly lines with REBA Process and Power assisted lifters among other latest technology) and finally, the Vehicle Inspection section, which ultimately tests and certifies the final produced car before it is sent for batch transport. The Manesar plant uses 18000 MW of electricity of which only 2% is sourced from the State supply and also has a 1MW solar power plant. One Model-Many Lines, One Line-Many Models – is the policy that’s followed on this assembly line.
Now coming to the New Dzire, Well, this is why we were there. The Swift Dzire as it was known initially and now as the New Dzire will be in its 3rd generation once launched. The Dzire has been a super successful model for Maruti Suzuki since its launch in 2008. This is the model, which during its second iteration in 2012, had taken cues from Tata Indigo CS which invented the sub 4-meter entry sedan, and has been ruling it ever since. Having sold over 13.81 lakh units since its launch and owning 50% of the overall sales in the segment, this is the 2nd best seller from Maruti Suzuki after the Alto. The New Dzire uses the 5th and latest generation B-Platform, now renamed as the HEARTECT platform. This platform is lighter, more rigid and stronger than the older one. The secret behind it being the use of high tensile steel. Maruti Suzuki has also got brand new C- Series robots to work on the New Dzire, making them 15% faster, new age servo sealers come in that are more accurate and precise. All this accounting to enhanced vehicle performance, fuel efficiency and added safety on the New Dzire. Thanks to the paint shop, the New Dzire will be available in two new paint shades, along with the regular color options also available.
It was such a pleasure to see the various processes come together so well synchronized, as the New Dzire slowly came to life in front of us. Starting from the press shop where all the body shell parts get their shapes, through the weld shop where the panels of the New Dzire are meticulously unified, to the paint shop where they get their unique shades, to the assembly shop where the various components like the lights, seats, dash, engine, etc. are fitted on to the New Dzire. And lastly, the much-needed vehicle inspection, where the final produced car is run on a dyno and checked totally before sent off to their various destinations. For me, the highlight of the process is when the engine and transmission is mated to the body. This is when actually the body gets its soul and a heart.
Returning home on the flight I relax into my seat thinking about the day well spent seeing the New Dzire come to life in front of me – Fond memories for life. The New Dzire launches on the 16th of this month and we would be driving the New Dzire very soon. So stay tuned to know all on how the latest Maruti Suzuki actually is.
Maruti Suzuki Manesar Plant Photo Gallery