Lear Automotive India, the market leader in seating systems with a share of above 35-38 percent in the Indian market, has for the first time bagged business from Maruti Suzuki India. The company is to supply seating systems for a new model – a hatchback – for which supplies are slated to commence soon.
Lear Automotive's key customers in India have been Ford, General Motors and Nissan to name a few. “We have not really been involved in a meaningful way with Maruti Suzuki and that is now changing in the structured business. This is because we now have new structural concepts that revolve around being lightweight, reducing critical mass and also being less expensive. We are developing the partnership with Maruti Suzuki and working on various product areas in seating with them,” Jay K Kunkel, president Asia-Pacific and Member Executive Council, Lear Corp, told Autocar Professional in an exclusive interaction.
Kunkel confirmed that this will involve fresh investments in a new manufacturing facility for Maruti Suzuki that could be within the vicinity of its plants, probably at Manesar, though a final decision on the location is yet to be taken. “This needs to happen rather quickly, given the start of production for a new vehicle. So the plans are in place and the capital investment has been determined and what we need to do now is to take the final decision.”
Working with Honda on the new Brio
Lear Automotive India has also struck success recently with Honda Cars India. While Honda is its customer in other markets, in India the company was yet to open its innings with the Japanese carmaker.
The company is now working with Honda on its new Brio programme on the engineering and programme management side. India will be one of the markets for the new Brio and, perhaps, Thailand and Indonesia as well. This will be a new successor model; while the hatchback will be essentially the same, it will undergo variations depending on the target markets.
With new businesses in its kitty, Lear is optimistic of maintaining or improving its position in the seating market while upping the ante in the growing field of automotive electricals and electronics.