John Waraniak says Tata is building up its Detroit operation to offer on-site service as well as offshore options.
Tata expects its newest center, which now has 25 auto professionals, to be in full swing by mid-June.
The Indian company quietly opened its center in April 2004 in a spot about a half-hour drive from DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors headquarters. But it is only now beginning to take a higher profile.
Tata already does business with Ford and DaimlerChrysler, and Tier 1 suppliers Johnson Controls and Eaton Corp.
The automotive center will augment the software development center Tata already has in Detroit.
Tata's Troy center is a showcase for existing software products and services, a launching pad for new products and a laboratory that offers automakers and suppliers a sneak peek at what's under development for the auto industry.
At least two other large Indian firms have plans this year for automotive technical centers in Detroit, including Wipro Technologies in Windsor, Ontario.
"We purposely designed it to be part of the Detroit office based in Troy, in the same building as the Society of Automotive Engineers," says John Waraniak, head of Tata's Automotive Center of Excellence and a former Johnson Controls executive.
Tata's new center focuses on four areas: business software, information technology services, product engineering services and in-car systems. The two biggest areas are information technology services and engineering services, he says. Tata offers local, offshore and on-site services.
"It might be 60-40, where 40 percent is only offshored," Waraniak says. "It depends on how much face time you need on-site with a client. It might be a fast-paced program where more people are on site initially and then the work can go off site."
The company's target is the estimated $18 billion to $19 billion of information technology spending each year by automakers and Tier 1 suppliers, Waraniak says.
Tata also is going after business with auto dealerships, dealership groups and dealer management system vendors such as Reynolds and Reynolds Co. and ADP Dealer Services.
You may e-mail Ralph Kisiel at [email protected]