Continental Auto Sets up new platforms in India
Continental Automotive Components, a leading auto parts company, is fine-tuning its Indian operations setting up new platform for manufacturing parts of ‘affordable’ cars.
Continental, which last year took over Siemens VDO business in India, also plans to invest around Rs 250 crore to upgrade its plants either in Pune or Gurgaon, about the same amount it invested in its Bangalore plant recently. Continental also plans to increase the number of engineers in its engineering centre in Bangalore by about 300 to around 1,000.
Continental Automotive Components’ India Managing Director, Mr. Markus Distelhoff, told that it has set up new platforms for making electronic instrument cluster as well as for body cluster units. “We would like to focus more on mega trends which are safety, environment, information and affordable cars in India,” he said.
He said the platforms have been developed with local teams as this allows customers to work closely with them for their projects. Continental is also working on Tata Motors’ Rs 1-lakh Nano car project. It will supply fuel systems for the car and its production is expected to commence this month.
Mr Distelhoff said Continental’s joint venture with Ricco Automotive was in place and production of electronic braking systems will start sometime next year. Even though, it is an equal joint venture, Continental had management control, which Mr. Distelhoff said will continue to be the trend for all such ventures.
He Said Continental is actively eyeing opportunities for joint ventures and even take over of businesses so that it could bring products to the market much faster and at least cost. He said power train was one such area where Continental would look at joint ventures.
Continental also has a development joint venture with Ashok Leyland for interior products like instruments clusters and telematics solutions and Continental holds the rights to manufacture theses products.
With regard to Continental Tyres, Mr. Distelhoff said though there are no immediate plans to set up a manufacturing centre in India, the replacement market by October this year. “We plan to cater to the demand from the replacement market as there are a lot of high end cars here,” he said.
He said some of the car makers like Volkswagen which have manufacturing centres here want Continental to involve themselves more with their projects and want it to manufacture components which can be exported to their global plants. At present, Continental makes electronic instrument cluster units as well as engine systems for Volkswagen’s plants in Europe.