NEW DELHI - Some 40 million vehicles rattle around India's road system. Of these, 70 percent, about 27.4 million, are two- or three-wheelers - and Delphi Automotive Systems is starting to take a keen interest.
Bob Walden, country manager for chassis systems, said, 'There is a lot of business in the two-wheel market, and it is growing faster than the car market. We have been looking at how we can tap into that.'
The first move will be into catalytic converters for two-stroke engines, which power both two- and three-wheel vehicles. Delphi plans to start supplying converters in the first quarter of 2000.
Anil Sherma, managing director of Delphi's chassis and thermal systems plant at Greater Noida, said, 'We will be looking at other components in the future, but we do not have the r&d background in this area.'
So, for the time being, Delphi will be relying on growth in India's car and truck market.
Passenger-car sales here reached half a million last year and are expected to rise to 800,000 by 2003. Small cars dominate, taking 59 percent of the market.
Delphi is looking to grow its customer base, particularly with new manufacturers such as Ford and Toyota moving into India. Delphi currently supplies Maruti, Daewoo and General Motors.
According to Walden, 'There is a lot of potential in this market, and we also want to develop a strong presence in the aftermarket.'
Delphi launched its new aftermarket strategy at October's Equip Auto show in Paris.
The Greater Noida operation currently produces half shafts for the aftermarket, and Walden said other products will follow. He added, 'We are also looking to increase our exports from here. We already supply wiring harnesses to DaimlerChrysler and Opel in Europe and catalytic converters to Changan Suzuki in China.'
The Greater Noida plant, 50 kilometers from Delhi, manufactures suspension and brake products plus HVAC systems.