June 1, 2012: P Balendran, Vice President, GM India
INTERVIEW WITH P Balendran, VICE-PRESIDENT — GM India
What are the key technologies or processes that GM India is working on to reduce vehicle weight?
We are constantly looking at using the latest virtual simulation tools, supplier technologies and trends in manufacturing to reduce weight.
Which area offers the maximum scope for reducing component and overall vehicle weight?
The body, chassis and powertrain components offer the biggest opportunity.
How much have you been able to cut weight and in which models?
We have been able to reduce 10-20 percent weight in many cases depending upon models but we may not be able to specify the models per company policy. We are setting more aggressive targets for upcoming years.
What are the challenges in adopting technologies that help in weight reduction?
Manufacturing and assembly feasibility and durability are the main challenges.
How does GMI work with vendors to come up with ideas for cutting weight?
We set targets when we source parts and work with suppliers collaboratively to meet them.
Are engineering plastics the only cost-effective answer to steel?
We think there are a wide variety of materials that can help.
How much of your R&D expenditure is spent on lightweighting efforts?
We do not disclose the financials, supplier contract details or our engineering budget. Having said this, we can confirm that there is a good team in place and they are working on such technologies. In GM, it is a continuous process and not a one-time activity.
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