Honda Cars India’s “Make in
India” initiative is beginning to pay rich dividends not only in its car
business but also in its car parts business. A visit to one of its plants in
Rajasthan clearly indicated that the Japanese car maker has become a formidable
force in the car parts business with many critical parts being exported to
several advanced countries. Exports of these components and parts which stood
at a mere Rs 443 crore in 2013-14 has jumped to Rs 1140 crore in 2016-17.
This is despite the fact that
a lacklustre 2016-17 financial year saw domestic sales of its cars plummeting
by 18.09 per cent to 157,313 units (as per SIAM records). This meant that the company’s
two plants in India, one in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh and the other in
Tapukara in Rajasthan had to operate at levels much below their installed
Both the plants have an
installed capacity of 120,000 units per annum each. The Tapukara plant capacity
can be scaled up to 180,000 units based on requirements.
Production at the Greater
Noida plant in Uttar Pradesh started in 1998 and today models like the CR-V,
City, Amaze and Brio are made here. The 400 acres Tapukara plant situated in
Rajasthan’s Alwar district began production in 2008 in phase I with making of
body panels and engine components. In phase II which began in 2014, the company
started its car assembly operations. Current models which are being made here
include the City, WR-V, Jazz and BR-V. Till March 31, 2017, the company
invested Rs 5441 crore in the plant. As of May 31, 2017 the company employed
But at Tapukara, it’s not just
about cars, but also about critical components meant for domestic as well as
global consumption. This plant is incidentally the largest manual transmission
manufacturing facility of Honda Motors globally, exporting to nine countries --
UK, Turkey, Thailand, China, Indonesia, Canada, America, Brazil and America.
For transmissions, the company
does in-house castings, clutch and transmission cases, machining, etc. The
company makes transmissions for 7 petrol and 5 diesel domestic models while for
the export market, it makes transmissions for 19 petrol models and 3 diesel
The Tapukara plant is also the
largest manufacturer of diesel engines in Honda globally, with an annual
capacity of 1.80 lakh car sets per annum. The engine test bed at the plant
makes it possible for conducting various marketability and durability testing
of engines and transmissions for domestic as well as export markets.
In the last nine years, the
plant has completed 11 projects on time. This plant which started by making
frame parts, today even makes ferrous parts like crankshafts and connecting
rods, cylinder heads, diesel engine components, transmissions and forgings,
besides of course assembling the car ultimately for both domestic as well as
In short, the Tapukara plant
has become a major hub for exports of auto components, with outsource parts and
in-house parts being exported to 15 countries across the world, including the
likes of US, Japan, China, UK, Canada, among others. Parts include crankshafts, con rods, cylinder
blocs and transmission.
For making cars, the Tapukara
plant undertakes key manufacturing functions like forging, powertrain – engine components, press shop,
weld shop, paint shop, plastic moulding, engine assembly and frame assembly.
Testing facilities include those for engines, test course and hot and cold test
At all levels of production,
robots have been engaged in large numbers at the plant. Press machines include
two of 1,500 tonnes each and five of 1000 tons each. The press shop has a
capacity to produce 3.80 lakh car sets per annum. Press handling robots too are
installed in this section. Around 97 robots are there in the welding section
where spot welding and roller hemming, among others are carried out. To ensure
geometry of car body as per the original 3D design, the plant has a fully automatic
CMM or coordinate measuring machine for quick measurement of white body
accuracy. This is obviously advanced technology and third in Honda globally. In
order to enhance the skills of its workers for welding, the plant has a
training and development facility.
The layout and processes for
painting are as per Honda global design and specifications to ensure top notch
paint quality of cars. Coming to the assembly lines, a main line and sub lines
make up this area. These are state of the art and 100pc localised. Here tasks
are undertaken primarily by humans with robots being used for windshield
sealing. Once the cars are assembled, they go in for various quality checks
like weatherproof in–line test course, conveyorised static inspection, car
drive performance checks and 100pc inspection by line end tester aka on-board
Apart from all the
manufacturing taking place at this Tapukara plant, one should not forget the
point that it has more than 50pc open space with more than 25,000 trees within
its premises. There is natural lighting and mammoth sized air circulation fans
inside shops, besides a 1200KW solar power plant with 100pc recycling of waste
water making it a zero discharge plant. The plant also has rain water
harvesting where 97pc of rain water is harvested through recharge wells and
ponds. As a customer when you finally
drive a Honda car, you can not only be assured of a very reliable car but also
one that has come out of an environment friendly plant.
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