2012 NCR Special: Confidence up in Northern cluster

Speculations on whether the carmaker could be moving out its operations from Gurgaon-Manesar to the more labour-friendly environs of Gujarat, where it is setting up its fourth plant, had the local suppliers tied up in knots.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 03 Oct 2012 Views icon4598 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
The Delhi-NCR automotive belt was recently in the news for all the wrong reasons. The country’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, which is located in this region, witnessed the country’s worst labour problems at its Manesar factory in July that led to a month-long lockout.

This had a ripple effect on the surrounding 650 ancillary units in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Dharuhera industrial belt that employs over a million people, and is the location for another 270 varied suppliers in the vicinity.

Speculations on whether the carmaker could be moving out its operations from Gurgaon-Manesar to the more labour-friendly environs of Gujarat, where it is setting up its fourth plant, had the local suppliers tied up in knots. This because Maruti, since its inception in the early 1980s, has been a source of livelihood pan industries. The incident had even led the Japanese automotive investors to seriously view the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor as a more lucrative proposition.

But the region has proved its resilience and the ability to buck the trend with clouds of labour unrest blowing past when Maruti pulled out its trump card with its latest wage settlement agreement that has got the labour fraternity smiling once again.

So with 'all is well' once again in the Delhi-NCR region, it is time to uncork the champagne. The world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, Hero MotoCorp, is stepping up capacity in neighbouringNeemrana, Rajasthan with the announcement of an all-sweeping investment of Rs 2,500 crore. Its former partner, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, not to be left behind, is beefing up its product portfolio with a historic entry into the commuter segment with its 109cc Dream Yuga bike.

India Yamaha Motor too has created waves with its first ‘Made for women, by women’ Ray scooter, shrugging off its premium motorcycle image and low profile since the 1980s. The company has outlined a major investment in the southern part of the country with a 1.8 million facility as well. Of course, Suzuki Motorcycle is off on its own growth trajectory strengthening its product basket and silently planning its next strategy for India.

Honda Cars India (HCIL), whose production was in low key last year due to the Thailand floods and earthquake in Japan, has recouped lost ground with its refreshes and the new Brio hatchback that is already garnering a 25 percent share in the petrol hatchback segment. HCIL’s momentous entry into the diesel segment in FY14 has already been signed off, a warning of sorts to competitors.

Suppliers to the fore

A word here about the large cluster of auto component makers without whose support the OEMs would not have attained their high levels of localisation and affordable products. The suppliers are creating waves internationally with global products many of them having gained a foothold in the global market through the inorganic route.

Leading the Delhi-NCR suppliers on the world map are the Minda Group, SamvardhanaMotherson Group, Anand Group, JBM Auto, and Sandhar Technologies whose network of alliances with overseas partners and sheer product portfolio is mindboggling.

SHOBHA MATHUR
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