STEVE CLEMONS, DIRECTOR, PLANNING, MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS – DELPHI ASIA-PACIFIC
The Chennai facility, the fifth manufacturing unit in India, will make electronics and safety products from within a wide portfolio. We can present OEMs a full range of technology choices. We can help them design the technology for their vehicles; we have been successful in working with India automakers who are very interested in expanding their exports.
Which products do you plan to introduce in India?
We have a whole range of electronic products including electronic safety controls, security, entertainment and communication. We make a broad portfolio and it is possible for us to match market needs wherever we participate and we have been all across Asia. India is becoming an acknowledged global centre for small car development and everybody recognises it. It is also a very cost-conscious market and that will determine which products would be introduced here. We have the flexibility to bring products to the market that are appropriate for India. I understand Indian consumers are very interested in new technology. If that proves to be the case, we have lots of technology solutions that we can bring to the market.
What will the new Chennai unit produce?
The Chennai facility, our fifth manufacturing unit in India, will make electronics and safety products from within a wide portfolio. We can present OEMs a full range of technology choices. We can help them design the technology for their vehicles; we have been successful in working with India automakers who are very interested in expanding their exports.
What is your perception about the safety regulations in India?
Safety regulations in India are not at the highest level and there are some discussions underway about aligning them with European standards. This will create an environment where automakers are keen to introduce new technologies in their vehicles. It’s a combination of automakers wanting to differentiate, consumers wanting to have better or higher-quality cars and government regulations.
What is unique about your technology centre?
We have a technology centre in Bangalore staffed with 700 engineers who work on global projects. But increasingly, they are working on product designs for the Indian market. So, given the appetite for technology and if Indian automakers are keen to introduce new tech, we can now design solutions locally as opposed to just bringing products built early in other markets
What is Delphi's relationship with Volkswagen?
Volkswagen is an important customer. We have good and growing business with that group. Most of the businesses with VW are concentrated on three particular markets. It is in Germany of course, in South America and we have been doing business with VW for a number of years because mostly it imported European designs. So, we have operations in South America and can help them with localisation. And we have quite a good business with the company in China with the SIPCW joint venture. For the SPW venture, we have mostly developed products locally, so those are the three areas where we have substantial business. Some time ago, Delphi was invited to an important VW board meeting. I believe the role we play was to make some presentations about our experience of doing business in India. What we would typically do is we will have our local team work with the VW sales team in Germany and understand first of all the localisation plan and what models they are going to bring to the market and make sure that we understand what we can offer them in terms of local support for their localisation plans. Clearly, our sales team in Germany knows the VW business better than anyone in the company. I am sure we will take the lead from them that can help us understand what VW’s plans are for India, what they are going to need in terms of getting started. We have a good and diverse product line.
What is the safety scenario in China?
When it comes to safety standards, China’s safety regulations are a bit advanced from India but they have still not reached the level of Western Europe or North America standards. So again, when we are talking safety to vehicle makers in China, there are two types of conversation: one is what you want for the local market and what can we do for you in the local market. The second is what we can do for you in the export markets. For the export products, they need to have safety standards according to European specifications and standards. They do have safety products and they have introduced it into the domestic market. But they are not up to the North American or West European standards.
What do you think of infrastructure development in India?
I have seen, since the past couple of years, a dramatic improvement in the Indian infrastructure development. All the major airports are getting refurbished and new airports are also coming up. I think India is making tremendous progress.
What is your opinion on the worldwide slowdown and the impact in India?
We are seeing a little bit of slowdown in Asia, especially India and China. What we are seeing in India is the reduction in growth. Everybody in the auto industry should be very careful about it, watch the market and really be connected to the market.
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