Dow Corning India targets auto sector

Chemical major pushes its silicones and coatings products for Indian auto industry.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 22 Jul 2009 Views icon3346 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Dow Corning India targets auto sector
Dow Corning is making a concerted effort to increase its automotive business in India by pushing the use of silicones and coatings products in the new- generation cars being manufactured in India.

According to Jean-Paul Mollie, president, Middle East, Asia & Africa, “As safety and reliability become increasingly important concerns within the Indian automotive industry, the demand for our products will surely increase.”

Elaborating on the range of automotive applications that Dow Corning currently offers in the country, Mollie said, “We have products for electronic applications in cars and also have coatings that can be used for airbags and seat textiles including leather protection coatings.”

He adds: “The Indian auto sector is also a huge market for our rubber product portfolio. In fact, our silicones can be used in the manufacture of ‘green’ tyres, which save a lot of money and energy, compared to traditional tyres.”

Dow says there is a massive gap in the use of silicones in the Indian automotive industry. It says demand will grow strongly since an Indian- made car has less than one kilogram of silicone per car, while the equivalent figure in advanced markets in Europe and the US is over four kilograms.

Mollie confirms that “there are plenty of opportunities for growth as local car production increases and the quality of these cars improves to meet higher customer expectations.”

Discussing specific applications for these products, Mollie explains: “We are working with various companies by providing them with insulation, coatings and encapsulants, to ensure that the electronic components are well protected. These components, particularly those in the engine bay and those related to engine management, are subject to significant thermal stress due to the massive temperature variations. Also, the environment is very humid in India and this is a particular challenge in protecting electronic components. This is where silicones are playing a fantastic role and there are no alternative materials to do this kind of work.”

Xiameter expands

Dow is also creating what it says is the world’s largest online portal for the purchase of silicone-based products.

The company’s existing Xiameter web-enabled business, which was started seven years ago, will now more than double the number of products available and give customers increased options in how they purchase raw materials. All standard silicone products manufactured by Dow will be available through Xiameter and customers will also be able to buy Xiameter branded products through distributors, providing them with additional ordering options and local convenience.

Dow says it will sell standard silicone products at market-driven prices on this site. According to Stephanie Burns, chairman, president and CEO, Dow Corning, “As the global marketplace experiences significant changes, the needs of our customers are also changing markedly. Now, more than ever, they say they want suppliers that can help them improve efficiency. We are listening to them, and taking action by using our highly successful web-enabled brand and business to make our materials more easily accessible and offer customers greater efficiencies and convenience.”

Burns adds, “We have always been known for innovation that transforms our industry and our customers’ businesses. In this challenging economic environment, we have the global strength, resources and expertise to respond to changing customer needs with creativity and speed. This is part of a further transformation of Dow Corning’s business that will see us focus even more on innovation to create competitive advantage for our customers and economic, environmental and social benefit in many parts of the world.” Introduced in 2002 as a first of its kind portal in the silicone marketplace, Xiameter allows customers to purchase high quality, standard silicones ranging from rubber bases and compounds to dimethyl fluids and emulsions, to sealants and silanes.

These materials are widely used as performance enhancers by multiple industries, including personal care, construction and automotive where they provide durability, stability, adhesion and weather resistance. Other benefits of this website include lower cost in use and the ability to purchase in smaller volumes.

The expanded site will markedly increase the options for customers who do not want to pay for services they don’t need.

It will now offer 2,100 products using a new order entry platform with enhanced self-service functionality. Besides this, it will also offer volume quantity options and the ability to buy from distributors. Dow adds that this system allows customers to place an order when and where it’s convenient for them, with immediate confirmation of price, quantity, and shipping date.

Branding for growth

The expanded online capabilities are part of a process begun in 2002 when Dow Corning introduced a two-brand strategy, focusing the Dow Corning brand on full service and solutions offerings for customers who want innovation, customisation and expertise in addition to a portfolio of high-quality products. Xiameter was developed with a focus on customers whose purchasing decisions were driven by the need for efficiency and high-quality products without additional services.

Dow is clearly convinced about the long-term growth prospects of the Indian automotive sector and is actively seeking ways to tap into it.
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