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Monday, Jan 24, 2011
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Wilbur Ross' IAC keen on building India auto footprint
Mumbai, Jan. 23
International Automotive Components Group (IAC), owned by billionaire Mr Wilbur Ross, will fast-track its India plans following the recent buyout of New Delhi-based Multivac's automotive assets.
The $3.2-billion IAC is a global tier one supplier of vehicle interior components and systems while Multivac specialises in headliners, instrument panels, interior trim and door panels. With this acquisition, IAC gets a foothold in the northern region and access to new clientele such as Maruti Suzuki, Volvo Eicher and International Tractors.
The company already has a plant in Chakan near Pune and is working on commissioning two more in the area. “We meet the needs of Mahindra Navistar and Volkswagen and would be keen to add more names from this region to this list,” Mr Gajanan Gandhe, Senior Vice-President of IAC Asia Operations, told Business Line over telephone from China.
The list would ideally include Tata Motors, Tata-Fiat, General Motors and Daimler which have facilities in neighbouring locations like Ranjangaon, Talegaon and Pimpri. GM, in particular, offers interesting opportunities thanks to its alliance with SAIC Motor Corp of China.
“SAIC and Shanghai GM are one of our biggest customers in China and it is only natural that we will pursue relations with them in India,” Mr Gandhe added. The duo has planned a product mix of cars and light commercial vehicles which will be produced in Pune and Gujarat.
Likewise, Mahindra & Mahindra has big plans for its Chakan plant which will house the Navistar range as well as its global sports-utility vehicle codenamed the W201 scheduled to roll out in the coming months. On the VW front, IAC meets the needs of the Vento and Polo as well as the Skoda Fabia which is part of the Chakan assembly line. VW, in fact, is already being touted as one of the most formidable players of the future in India thanks largely to its alliance with Suzuki.
Southern plant plans
IAC is also planning to set up a plant in the South with Mahindra Reva's requirements in mind. Since this part of the country also houses big names such as Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and Ashok Leyland, the company is bullish on business opportunities in the future.
Interestingly, added Mr Gandhe, IAC is also looking to expand in ‘synergistic areas' in two and three-wheelers. Should this happen, it will be a first of its kind for the company in this product category. India is the second largest bike market in the world with annual production of over 12 million units.
Wilbur Ross is apparently planning an initial public offering for IAC this year and reports have been doing the rounds that Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Co have been mandated for the task. Sources say this augurs well for the global auto industry which had its back to the wall during the 2009 slowdown.
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