Stadco Auto to begin BIW prototyping in India

Stadco Auto to begin BIW prototyping in India

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 07 Aug 2013 Views icon4540 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Stadco Auto to begin BIW prototyping in India
With its engineering services having delivered key projects, Stadco Automotive is all set to enter into body-in-white prototyping in India. Karthik H reports.

Chennai-based Stadco Automotive is entering an exciting phase in its as yet short journey in India. The largest Tier 1 body-in-white pressing and assembly vendor in the UK had set up shop in India in 2009 and now plans to soon begin prototype manufacturing for its Indian customers.

At the global level, Stadco provides engineering services, does prototype manufacturing and serial production of metal or aluminium body panels. In its five years of operations in India, the 200-year-old British company has set up its engineering capabilities, delivered a few projects and is now entering into the prototype manufacturing phase.

“It’s part of a three-step strategic process,” says Peter Spackman, director of Indian operations. “Effectively, we’d like to replicate our business model from the UK,” he adds. Even though the company is just entering into the second phase in its long-term strategy for India, full-time manufacturing of body panels in India is being considered. “We have done some detailed strategic studies for India and are looking at some options,” reveals Spackman.

Ideally, StadcoAuto would need a proper location that is close to its customers, given how logistical costs can shoot up with body panels before it thinks about setting up a full-fledged manufacturing facility in India. “We have a fairly high level of confidence when it comes to bagging customers,” says Spackman, adding “to set up a manufacturing facility is a big step, so we need to be sure that it makes business sense.”

India market challenges

When it comes to its India operations, Stadco finds itself in a unique position in that it caters to the CV and tractor industries, in addition to the passenger car market. This brings about its own set of challenges. “I think the key to all of it is that the automotive market in India is still relatively young,” Spackman quips. “Indigenous Indian manufacturers are probably going through their fourth or fifth product cycle,” he says. “However, the scene is changing rapidly and you can see the growth and the learnings being much steeper,” Spackman adds.

StadcoAutomotive’s experience with Jaguar Land Rover in the UK and Europe has led it to become, pretty much, an expert in the creation of body panels and BIW parts using aluminium and high-strength steel. “The Indian market is quite not there yet, but when it is, we will be ready with our products,” Spackman says. As a developing hub for small cars, India provides for some unique challenges. Spackman says that the smaller the cars get, the more cost gains importance. “To make cars more fuel efficient, you need to make them lightweight, but lightweight comes at a cost,” he says. Worldwide, Stadco Automotive caters to biggies in Europe like JLR, BMW, General Motors and Ford Motor Company. Its India operation employs 20-25 engineers, with a small investment. “We’ll go in for a more substantial investment and an increase in staff when we start full production,” Spackman adds. “We want to become a proper full-service provider in India,” he sums up.
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