India’s biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki has increased the volume of vehicles moved by rail across the country by more than 580% over the last ten years and has surpassed 2m vehicle moves in total to date.

The company said in the last financial year (2023-2024) it transported 447,750 vehicles by rail, up from the 65,700 it moved in FY 2014-2015. Maruti Suzuki said that rail now accounted for 21.5% of all vehicle moves.

Suzuki Motor India Gujurat rail siding SMG 1

In March this year Maruti Suzuki opened the first in-plant railway siding at the Suzuki India plant in Gujurat 

In 2013 Maruti Suzuki was the first carmaker in India to obtain the Automobile Freight Train Operator (AFTO) licence and introduced dedicated wagons for vehicle rail logistics operations. The AFTO licence enables it to operate high speed, high-capacity finished vehicle carrying wagon rakes on Indian Railway’s network.

Hisashi Takeuchi, managing director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki India, said that the company’s efforts to increase volumes transported by rail had resulted in a cumulative reduction of around 10,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions and saved around 270m litres of fuel.

“With our production capacity nearly doubling from about 2m units to 4m units by FY 2030-31, we plan to augment the use of railways in vehicle dispatches, close to 35% over the next 7-8 years,” he said. “We stand committed to the Government of India’s net zero emissions target by 2070.”

In March this year Maruti Suzuki opened the first in-plant railway siding at its Gujurat plant. The facility has annual capacity to dispatch 300,000 vehicles by rail to 15 destinations across India. It is the result of a collaboration between Maruti Suzuki India and Gujarat Rail Infrastructure Development (G-Ride), a Government of Gujarat and Indian Railways partnership, along with Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC).

The carmaker is also now working on an in-plant railway siding at its Manesar plant, which it said will be operational soon. Earlier this year Maruti Suzuki opened an additional assembly line at its Manesar plant complex, with annual capacity to make 100,000 units, bringing total manufacturing capability at Manesar to 900,000 vehicles per year.

In the last financial year Maruti Suzuki sold 2,13m units, with 1.79m sold in India and more than 283,000 exported overseas.