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Maruti Suzuki Names Ayukawa CEO Amid Indian Car Market Slump

March 15 (Bloomberg) -- Maruti Suzuki India Ltd., the maker of almost half the cars sold in India, named Kenichi Ayukawa Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer to succeed Shinzo Nakanishi on his retirement at the month-end.

Ayukawa, a director on Maruti’s board, led Suzuki Motor Corp.’s Pakistan unit almost a decade ago, according to the company’s website.

Ayukawa will take charge at a time when the New Delhi-based company is struggling with a demand slump that led it to close one of its factories for a day earlier this month. India’s annual car sales are poised to decline for the first time in a decade as faster inflation, slowing economic growth and high interest rates continue to keep buyers from showrooms, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Industrywide local deliveries fell 4.6 percent to 1.71 million cars in the 11 months ended February, according to the automakers group. Annual deliveries last declined in the year ended March 2003, the group said. The Indian unit of Suzuki said March 1 that domestic deliveries fell 9 percent in February, led by a 16 percent drop in its mini-car sales.

Maruti fell 0.9 percent to 1,406.70 rupees at the close in Mumbai trading, extending its drop this year to 5.6 percent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex is unchanged in the period.

The carmaker is projected to post a profit of 18.5 billion rupees in the year ending March 31, according to the median of nine analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karthikeyan Sundaram in New Delhi at kmeenakshisu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net

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