One particular new investment Conti is making in India is its planned automotive electronics plant and R&D facility in Bangalore, which will be established with an initial investment of Rs 1 billion (£12.9 million). Joint venture facilities operated in conjunction with Rico and Ashok Leyland will also attract fresh investment in the coming years.
“In the next decade one of the main focuses of the automotive industry will be so-called affordable cars, especially in the growth markets like India and China. The production of cars within a price range of Rs 5 Lakh (about £6,500) will increase from current figure of 650,000 to approximately 1.1 million units by 2017. This is a 70% increase. To cope with this demand we have to focus on solutions for the Indian market; people want safe, yet affordable cars,” said Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, chief technology officer and board member of Continental AG. “Continental has developed strategies and products that are suited to these demands.”
Continental aims to translate its expertise in vehicle technology into low cost, affordable components and systems that are tailored to the Indian market. The company’s engineers in India are working on solutions that are optimized for the Indian market. “Localization also significantly reduces development and production costs and reduces the response time,” said Dr. Markus Distelhoff, managing director of Continental Automotive Systems, India.
With the Indian emission norms and safety legislations becoming more stringent, tomorrow’s vehicles will have a far greater level of electronics built into them. “We expect our products such as diesel/gasoline injections systems, immobilizers, electronic control units for body electronics, steering and airbags, brake systems, instrument clusters and radios to contribute to our growth in India in the near future,” said Distelhoff. Since the Indian market is also of interest to the ContiTech division, both as a manufacturing location and as a market for its products, Continental has stepped up its involvement in that market this year. ContiTech is currently producing at facilities in Kolkata and Delhi.
Continental AG now operates six manufacturing facilities and three R&D centres in India. The company is targeting 60% compounded annual growth rate in its India business by 2012. (Tyres & Accessories/Staffordshire, U.K.)