The world's largest automobile contract manufacturer, Magna Steyr, part of Magna International, has said it is in talks with Japanese car-maker Nissan and French company Citroen, to explore the possibility of producing their models in India.
The company's newly appointed India director Wolfgang Erhardt said talks with the two global automobile majors were in early stages and it was too early to talk about volumes.
"We are discussing how we can work together. The volume could be 10,000 units a year or something more or less than that. We have not decided on that," Erhardt said.
While Citroen has already indicated that it may firm up plans for India in 2006, Nissan is yet to make such an announcement. While Citroen does not have any presence in India in terms of product offering, Nissan is currently testing the waters for its sports utility vehicle, X-trail, which has been giving low volumes.
Erhardt said currently, Magna Steyr's interest in India was focused on engineering services that it offered from its operations in Pune, Chennai and Delhi. "We are servicing several large customers like Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tafe and Ashok Leyland," he said.
Erhardt added that the company was working with Tata Motors on the interior designs of the new Indica and Indigo Marina. He, however, refused to discuss details of the changes in these two models.
He said the company was talking to Volkswagen for offering IT services for products to be launched in India.
"The core focus of our operations in India will on designing power trains and drive trains for vehicle manufacturers through our IT services," he said.
The company plans to increase its headcount in India from 43 to 100 by the end of 2006 and double it every year for the next three years.Magna Steyr, a $5 billion company, operates out of 20 locations globally and employs over 11,000 people, producing nearly 1000 cars a day. Magna Steyr is controlled by a holding company, Magna International, which is based in Ontario. With a turnover of around $20 billion, it employs nearly 82,000 people at 223 manufacturing divisions in 22 locations globally.