With Gujarat making rapid strides as the next major auto hub of the country, experts at a seminar including automobile industry honchos believe that the state is set to produce one in three cars sold in the country in the future. Topics discussed at the meet included the need for business and growth-friendly policy, the need for a well-trained workforce to aid the industry’s growth in the state, as well as a green future utilising electric and hybrid vehicle (xEV) technology.
Speaking at a session titled ‘Role of Gujarat in Auto Economy’ at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit (VGS) 2013 on Saturday, Tata Motors vice-president, AS Puri said that Gujarat’s car manufacturing capacity will grow substantially in the near future. “In coming years, we see one of three cars made in the country rolling out of a plant in Gujarat. With major companies including Tata Motors and General Motors already present in the state and Ford India and Maruti Suzuki gearing up for production here, facilities at Sanand along with the ancillary industry at Rajkot will make Gujarat the next big auto cluster in the country,” he said.
After a slow 2012, the short-term forecast for the auto industry is rather flat. “We expect a moderate 3-5% growth in the next year. However, in the coming five years, the industry will be well on its way to a growth trajectory,” Puri added. Tata has a plant at Sanand, where it produces the world’s cheapest car, Nano.
Meanwhile, Ford India president, Joginder Singh says that with the state becoming an auto hub, it is imperative that there be a technically-trained workforce in Gujarat. “The paint shop at our upcoming facility in Sanand will be even more advanced than that at our plant in the US. Hence, it is important that the 5,000 workers we expect to employ here have sound technical training,” he said. Ford India’s plant here is expected to produce around 2.4 lakh cars and 2.7 lakh engines, respectively. It is slated to go on stream by 2014.
Other panelists at the session, part of a seminar on ‘Gujarat – An Emerging Transportation Hub’ at VGS, included principal secretary of industries & mines department, Maheshwar Sahu; director – advanced vehicle development centre, General Motors, Dr Rao Chalasani; Maruti Suzuki India Ltd COO, MM Singh as well as president & CEO of Electric Mobility Canada, Chris Hill.