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Interaction | July 2011

Compact car segment is bound to see more innovations

  There is a huge demand for smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles. Hence the compact car segment is bound to see more innovations in the years to come. The Pune plant is strategically located (within 30 km) to serve main clients like Volkswagen, Fiat, General Motors, Renault, Spicer, TATA and Piaggio, which will drive the company's bottomline in the years to come. Ravindra Ojha, Managing Director, GKN Driveline India in an interaction with Projects Info discusses the emerging trends in the drive components industry and about the company's upcoming strategic location

Please comment on your new facility that will come up in Pune.  
Our growing confidence in the local market led to further investments at Dharuhera in 1997 followed by Oragadam in 2008 and now the new facility at Pune. With an investment of Rs 130 crore the plant has 'Poka-yoke' environmental-friendly machining processes and upgraded version of imported machines. The facility will have globally trained staff in application engineering & test centre. It is the next step in our mission to remain close and accessible to our customers in West India.

Give an insight into the market for driveline components in India.
Customers are becoming more environment conscious. There is a huge demand for smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles. Hence the compact car segment is bound to see more innovations in the years to come. Rising crude oil prices are a constant threat and this has put a lot of pressure on the prices of petroleum products. As a result, alternative technologies like the electric driven automobiles have found flavour within the market and there is a wider acceptance for these products. Companies are looking at local design and technology to customise products to meet evolving preference of the customers.

What are the kind of margins that GKN driveline is currently enjoying in the automotive market? Is there any scope of enhancing profitability dramatically given the fact that your plant will be in close vicinity to the auto manufacturers?  
Over the past five years, the company's business in India has grown at an annual rate of more than 15 per cent and we expect the country to remain a high growth market for years to come. The Pune plant is strategically located (within 30 km) to serve main clients like Volkswagen, Fiat, General Motors, Renault, Spicer, TATA and Piaggio, which will drive the company's bottomline in the years to come. It will have a capacity to produce 600,000 sideshafts in phase one, which will later expand to 1.2 million sideshafts in phase two. It will be our first facility in India to manufacture Verschiebegelnk Loebro (VL) joints with the capacity of 360,000 sideshafts.

On the human resources front, are you able to tap the right engineering talent?
Yes, we are able to tap the right talent. Most of our engineers are further sent to Singapore, our Asia Pacific headquarter, where they are trained for five to six months depending upon the requirement. The engineers are also sent to other facilities in Japan and Germany to get the necessary training. E-learning is also one technique we widely use to train our engineers and other staff so that there is standard manufacturing process around the world. Also before transferring any new technology we train our engineers in Europe so that we can deliver the right process and the right technology in the right manner.
 

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