As India strides towards becoming the fourth largest passenger vehicle market in the world, both the government and the industry are seized of the need to implement more stringent safety norms. To ensure vehicles perform as well and as reliably as they as advertised, manufacturers put their new products to arduous tests on proving grounds. Until a few years ago, most OEMs in India used to test their vehicles abroad. It is only now they have options. Like the National Automotive Test Tracks (NATRAX) facility at Pithampur, near Indore.
Autocar Professional's cover story reveals how a proving ground like NATRAX, with its 14 test tracks covering a wide variety of vehicle tests and two labs, will prove to be a boon to the Indian auto industry. OEMs can now conduct a plethora of tests, thereby reducing costs and also time to market for new products.
The NATRAX facility can test all types of vehicles ranging from two-, four- and more wheels. Clearly, it will give a huge boost to developing safer vehicles.
Safer two-wheelers is what Brembo is looking to contribute to as is prepares to set up a new assembly plant in Chennai. This also means it is readying for the boom in demand for ABS and CBS which are to become mandatory on two-wheelers.
Another global player, Kluber Lubrication is also bullish on the India growth story. In fact, burgeoning demand for its product from this part of the world has seen India become the company's third largest growth driver. Find out how Kluber plans to enhance growth and its brand presence.
With automakers and suppliers looking to compress development times, software provider Dassault Systemes believes its 3D CAD, digital mock-up and PLM solutions are just what they need.
The past fortnight saw two Indian automakers make news in two different continents. On March 6, Tata Motors made a splash at the Geneva Motor Show with its stunning all-electric EVision concept sedan, while the Mahindra Roxor became the first Mahindra model in the personal vehicle space to realise its maker's long-pending aspirations in North America. Find out more on each model in our detailed reports.
With EVs hogging the news in developed markets and fast becoming a buzzword in India, the auto component industry is now actively looking at the new technology disruptor and exploring ways to stay future-relavant. Which is why the Gurgaon-based Napino Auto & Electronics, which sees nearly 90 percent of its revenues come from the two-wheeler industry, is looking to derisk itself by preparing for new opportunities from BS VI and EVs.
Electromobility is a global megatrend just like connected vehicles, autonomous cars and shared mobility and they all have a resonance in India. Electronics major Visteon, which is engaged in all four megatrends, is now bullish on bringing these technologies to India. As a start, it is talking to some carmakers in India to introduce its SmartCore domain controller, which integrates different domains including infotainment, instrument clusters, information and HUDs, ADAS and connectivity into a single ECU. And it's a scalable solution too.
In the Interviews of the Fortnight, Roland Folger, managing director of Mercedes-Benz India, who speaks on hybrids as the middle path to reducing pollution, the big challenge of setting up an EV charging network across India and going BS VI for all diesel vehicle launches.
We also speak to Jia-Ciao (Gary) Liou, commercial head of Maxxis Rubber India, which has recently opened its brand-new tyre-making plant in Sanand, Gujarat. He reveals the production and retail strategies and why he is quietly confident about supplying tyres to EV makers in India.
All this plus an exciting News section and an in-depth analysis of vehicle sales in February 2018 in this mid-month issue.
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