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GM to provide global engineering services from India
Fakir Chand in Bangalore |
February 25, 2003 20:20 IST
General Motors Corporation, the $177-billion world's largest automobile major, has chosen India's knowledge capital Bangalore to set up its Technical Center to provide engineering services to its global portfolio.
Though the India subsidiary of the US-based auto giant has its manufacturing facility at Halol near Baroda in Gujarat to roll out its Opel models, it has opted for Bangalore to outsource engineering projects in critical areas and execute new
exploratory research projects.
"In view of Bangalore's reputation as the fourth largest technology hub in the world, and the availability of highly skilled techies in the city for design and development, we have preferred to set up the technical centre in this city," declared John D Cohoon, executive director (global engineering) for General Motors North America Product Development, in
Bangalore on Tuesday.
With an upfront investment of $20 million during the current calendar year in setting up the high-tech facility at the Information Technology Park on the outskirts of Bangalore, GM has committed to invest an additional $40 million in the next two years in expanding its operations and ramp up its manpower strength to 260 by 2004.
"The Indian centre will provide services for our global engineering in the critical areas of computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering, and computer-aided manufacturing.
"The research and development work will complement our global research programs, taking advantage of the time zone difference for cost-effective collaboration across our global sites," Cohoon stated.
Initially, the centre will operate in two shifts, enabling a 24-hour service offer and speed up vehicle development time. The revenue generated from such services will be treated as GM's exports from India.
The focus of R&D projects will be in:
- Math-based tools;
- Lightweight materials and robust manufacturing processes;
- Automotive electronics and control systems, and
- Manufacturing enterprise and management services.
The company has already a technology tie-up with the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Science to jointly conduct research in automotive structural materials and manufacturing process, with an investment of $600,000 in three years, beginning July 2001.
"The Technical Centre will enable the Indian subsidiary to join GM's global engineering network and engage the high-quality, skilled Indian engineering talent to help support our global portfolio," the Detroit-based Cohoon declared.
According to company's executive director for R&D and Planning Alan I Taub, GM has set out on a long-term goal to emerge as an industry leader in product innovation.
"As we enter the 21st century, it is important for us to tap the best talent wherever it exists. We intend to win the race in the future, and the fastest way to deliver innovation to market is to work globally," Taub affirmed.
As the third such largest engineering centre in the Asia-Pacific region, with the other two in Australia and China, the Bangalore facility will complement and coordinate its activities with GM's other global centres in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
GM India president and managing director Aditya Vij said the company would be launching three models during the current year in the luxury and premium segments.
"We have already sold about 40,000 cars in the Opel range of Astra, Corsa and Swing. Our recently launched models under the Chevrolet brand has generated a good response, and we are looking forward a turn around in our sales in the ensuing fiscal year," Vij claimed.
GM's wholly-owned Indian subsidiary has made a cumulative investment of Rs 400 million in setting up and expanding its Halol facility over the last few years. It also exports auto components to GM's auto plants, worldwide.
Vij, however, admitted that the company would take another couple of years to break-even and start making profits.