Thalaivar Rajnikant is a super
hero in the Tamil celluloid world. Songs have been sung in his praise with even
King Khan paying him a tribute in a Hindi song. In South India, Rajnikant continues to be a force
to reckon with. In Bollywood he is very much adored. Globally too he is quite a
respected figure. And the same goes with Tamil Nadu, the state he represents,
when it comes to the world of automobiles. Five states comprising Tamil Nadu,
Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and the newly formed state of Telangana make
up South India. Among these, it’s Tamil Nadu that is way ahead when it comes to
its contribution to the Indian automobile industry. Automotive hubs can only be
successful when vehicle manufacturers set up manufacturing plants in the
region. When these Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) set up base, they
attract an entire family of component manufacturers to the site. Vendor parks
come up and so do component manufacturers of all shapes and sizes. Tier I, II
and III suppliers flock around the huge vehicle manufacturing sites to supply
not just to the OEMs in the vicinity but also to their markets abroad.
Vehicle manufacturing regions
also encourage the growth of technical institutions and engineering colleges,
providing employment opportunities to the students passing out from these
institutions. Business only tends to get better for the region, promoting the
overall welfare of the region and its people. But it all starts with the state
government providing the right infrastructure and fiscal incentives for
automobile companies to set up base in their State. Among the southern States,
Tamil Nadu has got a major lead when it comes to attracting automobile
manufacturers to its state. Some of the biggest names of Indian and global
automotive space like Hyundai Motor India, Ford India, TVS Group, Royal
Enfield, Allison Transmission, India Yamaha, BMW India, Daimler India Commercial
Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. (DICV), a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG,
Mitsubishi (using the manufacturing plant of Hindustan Motors), Renault-Nissan
plant, Ashok Leyland, TAFE, Caterpillar
India, Wabco India, Wheels India, Federal Mogul, Rane Ltd, Visteon, Takata,
BorgWarner Thermal Systems, Ennore Foundries, etc. The list is exhaustive. Tamil
Nadu also has the presence of major tyre manufacturers like Apollo Tyres (in
Oragadam) and MRF (in Arakkonam, Tiruvottiyur).
Tamil Nadu is undoubtedly the
Detroit of India. Given the fresh investments being made in the state, the
State is expected to continue with its “Detroit” status for a very long time to
A major part of automotive
research and development all over the world comes from motorsport. In India,
Tamil Nadu has been the state where the sport has the most amount of presence
despite the Formula 1 track being constructed in North India. The most
successful racing drivers in India have come from Tamil Nadu like Narain
Karthikeyan, Karun Chandok, Alisha Abdulla, and many more. The reason is
simple: The frequency of racing and rally events is higher in South India. Two
of the most popular racing circuits with the most amount of heritage, the Kari
Motor Speedway in Coimbatore and the recently renovated and renamed Madras
Motor Race Track in Chennai, both are in Tamil Nadu. The race track in Chennai
after its renovation has received the FIA Grade 2 certificate which allows the
track to host events up to World Endurance Racing, DTM and GT Racing levels.
Volkswagen, JK Tyre, MRF all of these brands have had racing series in India
and at least one race in every category takes place in one of these tracks. The
VW Vento Cup this year will host 3 races in Kari Motor Speedway along with the
JK Tyre National Racing Championships. MRF Racing also has their own facility
and racetrack with a simulator in Tamil Nadu and also host events in the
region. With the T1 Tata Prima Truck Racing Championships concluding the 2nd
season in India, Tata Motors is also planning to host the event at the Madras
Motor Race Track in Chennai for an additional round possibly from next year
while also hosting a race at the Buddh International Circuit in Noida. Suzuki
with the launch of their fully faired street sports bike the Gixxer SF, has
also announced to host the Gixxer cup, a one make racing series with their
Gixxer SF model which is held in conjunction with the Indian National
Motorcycle Racing Championship at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore and the
Madras Motor Race Track in Chennai. The first round of the series has already
been concluded at Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore
It is thus obvious that apart
from automotive manufacturing, even when it comes to motorsport, Tamil Nadu
steals the show. With its race tracks and rich legacy in motorsport, there is
no comparison to this southern state of India. It’s only fair to say that Tamil
Nadu never misses a chance!
Among the southern states of
India, only Tamil Nadu has an elaborate policy on Automobiles and Auto
Components. According to the Tamil Nadu Automobile and Auto Components Policy
2014, traditionally, Tamil Nadu is known for automobile manufacturing. Since 1953,
when Simpsons pioneered India’s automobile industry in Chennai with the
manufacture of motor cars, diesel engines and steam passenger buses, the
industry has grown steadily. A number of automobile and auto components
manufacturing plants have been established since then earning Chennai the
sobriquet the “Detroit of India”.
Some say the automotive investment
wave is waning in Tamil Nadu, but the fact is that a few states like Gujarat
and Telangana and a few others have only recently woken up to the automotive
world, seeking investments. Tamil Nadu continues to get fresh investments from
automotive players even today. Players
like BMW India, Force Motors, India Yamaha. Royal Enfield and DICV, to name a
few, continue to make fresh investments
in the state.
India Yamaha has also set up a
new plant on the outskirts of Chennai which will be commissioned in 2015. The
plant has come up at Vallam Vadagal in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu. An
investment of Rs.1500 crore went into building this plant with a capacity to
manufacture 4,00,000 units. In Phase II the capacity will be further augmented
to 14,00,000 units, taking the total capacity of the company to 18,00,000
units. The new factory will also have a vendor park in its vicinity.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the new product from the TVS-BMW
collaboration to be launched in 2015-16 fiscal. The under-500 cc motorcycle is
expected to add a new element of thrill in a segment where there are limited
models and players.
When the BMW-TVS tie up was announced early 2013, it was
meant to develop and produce motorcycles in the segment below 500 cubic
centimetres. The cooperation agreement involved the two companies offering
their own vehicle derivatives, which was to be sold through their own
distribution channels in India and across the globe. These BMW engineered bikes
will be produced in all probability from TVS’s Hosur plant.
Royal Enfield, in the meantime, continues to ramp up
capacity at its current facilities in Thiruvottiyur and Oragadam in Tamil Nadu.
The company had acquired 50 acres of land in Vallam Vadagal, near Chennai to
set up its third manufacturing facility. This plot is located within 10 km of
the company’s Oragadam facility and according to Siddhartha Lal, Eicher Motors
MD and CEO, the company would commence capacity creation at the third plant “as
and when we have a sight of demand that is beyond the combined capacity of our
existing two facilities. Our plan is to reach a capacity of 4,50,000 units in
2015 and over 6,00,000 in 2016 from current manufacturing facilities in
Thiruvottiyur and Oragadam.” Royal Enfield's current capacity from both plants
(Thiruvottiyur and Oragadam) will be three lakh units for 2015. Eventually, the
two plants put together will be able to manufacture six lakh units. The
Oragadam facility has a total capacity of five lakh motorcycles a year. The
company invested Rs. 150 crore in the first phase, when it was inaugurated in
In addition to
capacity expansion, the company is also investing in upgrading its capabilities
in product development with two new technology centres on the anvil. The larger
one will be at a new 4.5 acre property that the company has acquired on Old
Mahabalipuram Road in Chennai, and will be operational by Q2
Isuzu Motors India Private Limited (IMI), a subsidiary of
Isuzu Motors Limited, Japan, was established in August 2012 in Chennai, Tamil
Nadu. Headquartered in Chennai, Isuzu currently has a contract manufacturing
agreement with Hindustan Motors (HML) under which HML is assembling CKD kits of
Isuzu’s Sports Utility Vehicle MU-7 and pick-up truck D-Max, at its
Thiruvallur, Chennai plant. The company is, however, setting up its own plant in SriCity, TADA,
Chitoor District, Andhra Pradesh.
Tamil Nadu also has the Heavy
Vehicles Factory (HVF) established in Avadi to produce military related
vehicles. Avadi also boasts of the Combat Vehicle Research & Development
Establishment (CVRDE), a new engine testing facility.
Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi,
Chennai is one of the 40 Ordnance Factories under Ordnance Factory Board of
Ministry of Defence and is located at the outskirts of Chennai.This factory has
been at the forefront of battle tank manufacturing in the country.
According to a Tamil Nadu
government note, during the 1990s and early 2000s, the State witnessed the
second wave of the “automobile boom”. Currently, there are six car
manufacturers located around Chennai including Ford, Hyundai, Renault, Nissan,
Mitsubishi and BMW. The total capacity of these six car projects is 13.80 lakhs
units per year. Chennai is now emerging
as one of the Top 10 Global Automobile Manufacturing centres, says the state
Tamil Nadu has the largest
auto components industry base and accounts for 35pc of India’s auto components
production (US$ 6.2 billion). The industry, over the years, developed the
capability of manufacturing all the components required for manufacturing
vehicles, which is evident from the high levels of indigenisation achieved in
the vehicle industry as well as the components developed
for the completely Indian made
vehicles. Three Chennai based industrial groups make more than 22pc of India’s
auto components production. With an existing tyre manufacturing facility and
commissioning of production by three larger tyre manufacturing projects, Tamil
Nadu, and Chennai in particular, has become one of the largest hubs in the
world for tyre manufacturing.
Tamil Nadu has three modern
ports in Chennai and one in Tuticorin which provide an easy gateway for exports
and imports. The Chennai and Ennore Ports have dedicated berths for automobile
exports. Apart from a steady flow of skilled manpower, Chennai has over 350
Tier I to III suppliers
apart from more than 4000 SMEs
under Tier IV segment. All mother vehicle projects also have dedicated Vendors
Parks next to them.
NATRiP, a Government of India
project established in Oragadam near Chennai with a test track will be
facilitating introduction of world-class automotive safety, emission and
performance standards in India and also ensure seamless integration of Indian
automotive components industry with the global industry.
A “Research Valley” (Mahindra
& Mahindra has a huge presence here) in Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai has
undertaken design, prototype development and testing of new vehicle models.
This centre is Asia’s largest facility with a built-up area of 8,00,000
The objectives of the Tamil
Nadu Automobile and Auto Components Policy 2014 is to, among others, Focus on
further development and consolidation of automobile and components industry
where Tamil Nadu enjoys a comparative advantage and to strengthen this industry
as a key driver of economic growth. It wants to generate additional employment
potential for about 5 lakh persons by 2015, double export of Automobile and components
from Tamil Nadu by 2016, make Tamil Nadu numero uno in Asia in the automobile
and components industry; and make Chennai one of the top five centres in the
world in the automobile andcomponents industry
As part of the state
government’s plans, it will adopt the theme, ‘‘Tamil Nadu, the Partner in
Automotive Sector Investment’’, as a long term strategy to widen and deepen the
automotive industry with the aim of doubling the production volumes every five years
to reach 5 million vehicles per annum by 2020. It also plans to set up an Auto
City, a state-of-the-art industrial park as a joint venture, spread over 1000
hectares catering to domestic and global automotive /component design,
prototyping, manufacturing and remanufacturing units for
- Cars, Buses, Trucks and
- Earthmoving equipment
- Machined auto components,
Castings and Forgings and
- Cold-rolled Close Annealed
(CRCA) rolling and servicing.
In addition to the Auto City, new auto
clusters will be promoted in Tiruchirappalli, Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi.
Existing clusters in Madurai and Coimbatore will be strengthened. SIPCOT will
promote Auto Industrial Parks in Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Thoothukudi, etc.
and extend all infrastructure and other common facilities to attract more
investment from small and medium auto component industries.
DICV new bus
plant in Oragadam
Late May 2015,Daimler India
Commercial Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. (DICV), a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler
AG, Stuttgart, Germany, announced the inauguration of its new bus manufacturing
facility in Oragadam and unveiled its second wave of products – BharatBenz and
Mercedes-Benz buses as well as a new range of new BharatBenz high-power engine
trucks and BharatBenz heavy duty tractors.
After the inauguration of the
bus facility, the DICV plant is the only Daimler Trucks plant worldwide to
produce trucks, buses and engines for three brands - Mercedes-Benz, BharatBenz
and FUSO - under one roof. The bus chassis are rolled out from the same
assembly line as that of BharatBenz trucks, as they are technologically similar
to the medium-duty BharatBenz trucks. DICV has more than 80 dealerships that
cover 85pc of the Indian market. The buses will be served by the existing
dealership network. Daimler Financial Services will also extend attractive
financial packages for the bus business.
The new bus manufacturing
plant, constructed within the existing premises of DICV spread across an area
of 27.91 acres, will manufacture and assemble buses under two brands:
Mercedes-Benz and BharatBenz. With an investment of Rs 425 Cr, the bus plant is
set up for an initial capacity of 1,500 units which can be further expanded to
4,000 units subsequently.
DICV’s production plant at
Oragadam spreads over 400 acres. It includes a modern test track designed to
simulate Indian conditions – making it one of its kind in Asia. DICV has made
an initial investment of Rs 4,400cr and additional 425cr for the bus plant
Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, member
of the Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks and Buses; Hartmut
Schick, Head of Daimler Buses; Marc Llistosella, Head of Daimler Trucks Asia;
Markus Villinger, Managing Director Daimler Buses India; Erich Nesselhauf,
Managing Director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles and Mark Nodder,
Chairman and CEO, Wrightbus were present at the ceremony in Oragadam.
“We have become firmly
established in the Indian market with our BharatBenz brand, despite only
operating in the market since 2012. We continue to strengthen our presence in
the Indian commercial vehicle market with new products, now also including
buses. In doing so, we are opening a new chapter of growth”, said Dr. Wolfgang
Bernhard, adding that "This investment represents the ongoing pursuit of
our strategy of targeted expansion for our global market presence.”
With the opening of the bus
plant DICV is expanding its business and becomes a full-fledged CV manufacturer
in the Indian market. It will adopt a two-fold strategy with BharatBenz and
Mercedes-Benz buses that will cater to the Indian customer. BharatBenz buses
manufactured at the Oragadam plant will be front-engine for short distance
travel targeting school, staff and tourist transportation. The premium segment
will be addressed with Mercedes-Benz rear-engine buses for inter-city
transportation. The new plant will manufacture buses with gross vehicle weight
of 9, 16 and above 16 ton range.
“The growth in the industry
will position India as the second largest bus market with high strategic
relevance for Daimler Buses. The new bus plant will create 1,300 job
opportunities in the state, 300 for DICV and additional 1,000 at Wrightbus
International. I would like to thank our highly motivated staff for completing
the project in record time”, said Markus Villinger.
3143: Entering the mining segment
It is for the first time in
the Indian mining segment that a locally manufactured truck enters the deep
mining segment. The BharatBenz 3143 will be a natural progression towards high
powered, cost efficient mining trucks that will bridge the gap in the industry
that currently offers premium trucks and trucks that are underpowered.
Developed on the existing Daimler Heavy Duty Truck platform with a 4-axle
configuration, it is the most powerful local truck with 430 HP and uses the OM
457 Mercedes-Benz engine. In India, this engine will set the technological
benchmark. The BharatBenz 3143 would be available in two variants 19.5Cu.M rock
body and 32Cu.M coal carrier. The truck is capable of operating in challenging
terrains, is crafted for Indian usage patterns and can efficiently operate in
deep mining conditions, making it an unbeatable value proposition.
Completing the high power
portfolio, is the BharatBenz 4940TT that is best suited for transporting
heavy-lift project cargo in areas of construction and infrastructure projects
that include turbines, heat exchangers, windmill propellers and various
industrial equipments. This model will be launched in the market later this
assembles buses for Daimler
End May 2015 when the new DICV
bus plant was being inaugurated, it was also an occasion for Wrightbus International
to celebrate, The company’s senior team were in India at the event held in
conjunction with DICV to celebrate the opening of their bus body plant in
The new Wrightbus
International assembly plant has a capacity to produce 1,500 vehicles per annum
for the Indian market and currently employs 140 local workers, a number that is
set to increase rapidly as bus production begins in Chennai.
The R&D of the new product
range was carried out at Wrights Group headquarters in Northern Ireland with
the valued support of Invest Northern Ireland, part funded by the European
Regional Development Fund.
Mark Nodder, Wrights Group
Chairman and CEO, commented, “India is a huge emerging market with massive
potential. Having a presence on the
ground in the territory and a bus range design specifically for the Indian
market, will help sustain employment for the current workforce of 130 Wrightbus
International employees based at Group headquarters in Northern Ireland. The
opening of this assembly plant is a proactive step towards international
expansion that will impact positively on Wrights Group performance and the
Welcoming the development,
Enterprise Trade and Investment Minister Johnathan Bell MLA, said: “This new
assembly plant in India is a milestone achievement for Wrightbus and follows
extensive market research over the past six years. As well as support with
developing its new product for the Indian market, the Ballymena-based
manufacturer benefited from advice and practical support from Invest NI’s team
of experts to link up with Daimler.
“Wrightbus is among Northern
Ireland’s leading export businesses and this market offers exciting
opportunities for those ambitious companies prepared to make the necessary
long-term commitment and deploy the necessary financial and staff resources to
do worthwhile international business. This investment will be an important
catalyst in driving the company’s international growth strategy and enhance its
already valuable contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.”
Transmission- Automatically driving India
Allison Transmission India has
been playing a critical role in the lives of millions of passengers travelling
in Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses in New Delhi for the last several
years. In 2007 when Allison Transmission India was established as a fully-owned
subsidiary of Allison Transmission Inc., USA, a major order came from DTC for
Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland rear-engine CNG city buses. All of these buses
were equipped with Allison Automatics.
Overnight, obsolete buses with
manual gears were replaced by modern buses equipped with Allison fully
automatic transmissions. DTC drivers hitherto prone to fatigue and high levels
of stress were relieved to drive these automatic buses, which allow both hands
on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road. These buses are still
operating without any major transmission-related issues. In short, not only did
DTC drivers benefit, but so did the passengers who have commuted safely and
comfortably in these buses.
For many years automatic
transmissions have been the standard for buses in Europe and North
America. Over the past decade, many
countries including Japan, China and Turkey have embraced fully-automatic
solutions. This trend continues around
the world as developing countries are moving toward fully-automatic technology
in city buses. Allison Transmission has not only been delivering modernity to
India’s commercial vehicle segment, but has also been exporting products
manufactured in its plant in the southern State of Tamil Nadu.
Allison Transmission India’s
facility located in Oragadam’s industrial belt near Chennai, has been
manufacturing high-precision drivetrain components for more than 5 years. The
Chennai plant is utilized to assemble transmissions and produce gears which are
also used in other Allison production facilities. It has major certifications like ISO/TS 16949:2009,
ISO 9001:2008, ISO 14001-2004 and OHSAS
18001-2007. Recently the company shipped its 10,000th transmission from
its Chennai facility, thereby illustrating its ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Allison works with more than 300 OEMs globally, including industry leaders in
India, such as Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Corona, MAN, Sutlej, JCBL, JBM,
Veera and BEML.
In 2013, the Chennai facility
started producing 1000 Series™ and 2000 Series™ transmissions, demonstrating
the ability to meet Allison’s global best-in-class manufacturing practices. In
addition to meeting the demands of Indian OEMs, these transmissions are also
exported to support the needs of some other Asian markets, further contributing
to the intent of the ‘Make in India’ program.
Allison transmissions produced in India are making their way around the
world. In fact some Indian OEMs are now
exporting Allison-equipped buses to Africa and the Middle East – a preferred
transmission choice due to a well-earned reputation for reliability, durability
and customer support.
The Allison Transmission
Chennai Plant is a state of the art modern assembly and production
facility. In addition, it houses both a
Customisation Centre and Parts Distribution Centre. The Tamil Nadu location has many advantages
such as availability of skilled manpower, a good work ethic, manufacturing
culture and a general reputation to produce quality products. It has excellent and efficient port logistics
which are key to any successful Export Oriented Unit (EOU). The State also has
a mature industrial base and is a leader in automobiles & components.
A LONG JOURNEY
During 2015, Allison
Transmission celebrates its centennial, tracing its corporate lineage back to
James Allison and his founding of the company back in 1915. Allison has been serving customers in India
for over 50 years, supporting mining and oil field industries through Allison
Authorized Dealers and Distributors established back in the 1960s. Around the
turn of the millennia, Allison began developing Indian on-highway market
segments, by demonstrating the benefits of a fully-automatic in a variety of
commercial vehicles applications.
In India today, Allison
transmissions can be found in city buses, coaches, trucks, oil field and mining
segments, providing distinct advantages in any duty cycle.
After considerable success in
rear-engine CNG low-floor buses in Delhi and other cities, Allison and TATA
recently launched the first automatic-equipped front-engine bus. Ahmedabad
Janmarg Limited (AJL) took delivery of over 120 TATA 1621 front-engine buses in
December 2014, spurring even greater demand for automatics in this
Both TATA and BEML now offer
an Allison Automatic in their respective tipper and mining dump trucks. Customers are now choosing Allison in these
types of severe service trucks to significantly improve productivity and
Allison recently made its
entry into the Indian fire and emergency sector, equipping an MAN vehicle.
Emergency vehicles need to demonstrate high levels of responsiveness and
performance, as they are required to reach their respective destinations as
quickly as possible. Allison transmissions have been shown to get to the fire
in less time by delivering up to 35 percent faster acceleration and greater
maneuverability when compared with a manual or AMT.
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