The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Auto czars in cash overdrive

New Delhi, Sept. 7: Indian automobile companies have chalked out a series of big-ticket investments of over Rs 18,000 crore, which will be spread over four years or so.

Tata Motors today said it would invest Rs 10,000-12,000 crore in India over the next three to four years. Speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), Tata Motors managing director Ravi Kant said the company was looking at Russia and China for vehicle sales and component sourcing.

Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL), too, announced that it would be making fresh investments worth Rs 3,000 crore.

A year-and-half back the company had announced investments worth Rs 6,000 crore.

Next in line is Japan's Honda Motors. The company today said it would set up a second plant in India, which could involve an investment of $200 million over a period of five years.

“We are currently expanding the capacity at our Greater Noida facility to 1,00,000 units, following which we will set up a new plant with similar capacity,” Honda Siel India president and CEO M. Takedagawa said.

The Suzuki-controlled Maruti Udyog is ramping up its production keeping in mind increased demand in the local market as well as a pact signed with Nissan which will see it contract-manufacturing for Japan’s second biggest car manufacturer from 2008-09.

Suzuki chief Osamu Suzuki said, “Around 90 per cent of the new investments would be met through internal accruals while we may have to take loans for the remaining portion.”

He added Maruti’s new car plant at Manesar, which is expected to begin production soon, will manufacture one lakh units of the Swift and another 2 lakh units of a new “small car” that the company is developing in collaboration with Nissan Motors.

“Out of the production of the new small car, we will export one lakh units ourselves, while 50,000 would be exported by Nissan and the remaining 50,000 sold in the domestic market by us.”

Suzuki added the company was also in talks with Nissan for a new 2.5-lakh-unit plant which would cost Rs 2,500 crore, the location for which is yet to be decided.

He however, refused to say whether Nissan would join as an equity partner or just source vehicles.

Delphi plans big

US auto component major Delphi is planning to make India one of its global R&D hub and increase total headcount to 800 by 2008. “We are expanding our work here at the Bangalore technology centre and bringing in new work like application engineering and validation,” Delphi Automotive Systems India vice-president Prashant Saha said.

He said the company would increase headcount at its technology centre at Bangalore to 800 from the existing 500 by 2008.

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