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`Auto exports stay untapped'

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 27

The high-growth domestic automobile industry would attract a massive investment of Rs 80,000 crore by next year, but its export potential still remains untapped despite it gaining global recognition, the Economic Survey said today.

"While a beginning has been made in the export of vehicles, the potential in this area is far from fully tapped," the survey said.

It made a case for higher foreign shipments even as the automobile exports as a proportion of total production have increased to 8.9 per cent in 2005-06 from 2.9 per cent in 1999-2000. "During the last two years, export from this sector has grown significantly, owing mainly to the export of cars and two-three-wheelers.

"For passenger cars and three-wheelers, exports in 2005-06 accounted for 18-19 per cent of total production," it said.

The survey said the auto industry, which maintained a steady annual growth rate of 15 per cent in the last four years, has seen a rise in investment following the liberalisation in the sector in 1991.

"The industry had an estimated investment of nearly Rs 50,000 crore in 2002-03, which is expected to go up to Rs 80,000 crore by the year 2007," it said.

The survey said the number of automobile manufacturing facilities in India have grown to 15 for passenger cars and multi-utility vehicles, nine for commercial vehicles, and 14 each for two/three-wheelers and tractors.

The turnover of the automobile industry exceeded Rs 92,500 crore in 2003-04, which would cross Rs 1,44,000 crore, if the turnover of the auto-component sector was included, it added.

It said the sector also offered a substantial scope for gainful employment.

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