TOKYO -- After their acrimonious split, Suzuki and Volkswagen are poised to square off face to face in one of the biggest, most promising auto markets -- this time with different partners.
The battleground is India, and the brewing showdown pits Suzuki and its new teammate, Japanese giant Toyota Motor Corp., against Volkswagen Group and Indian heavyweight Tata Motors, signed on just this month as the German juggernaut's new partner.
The stakes are high for VW and Toyota. Neither of the world's two biggest automakers has a firm foothold in India, and both are jousting for local partners to make inroads.
Building sales there is key to both companies' global expansion plans and could undergird worldwide profits.
Passenger vehicle sales in India expanded 12 percent to 2.78 million units in fiscal year 2016, from fiscal year 2011, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Sales grew 8.6 percent in the first nine months of the current fiscal year through December 2016, making it one of the fastest-growing big markets in the world.