A manufacturing guru and a veteran of India's emerging auto industry will speak at the 2006 Automotive News World Congress.
Prakash Telang, president of Tata Motors, and Ron Harbour, president of Harbour Consulting Inc., will speak Wednesday morning, Jan. 18. Telang, who has spent 33 years with Tata Motors, is in charge of product development, manufacturing and sales and service functions of light and small commercial vehicles.
Tata Motors, of Mubai, India, is that nation's largest automaker with 2004 sales of 383,936 units. It is the 23rd-largest global automaker.
Telang could get a chance to broaden Tata's vehicle lineup. The automaker has agreed to develop vehicles with Fiat for India. Tata makes two cars for India, the Indigo and Indica. The automakers also could share engines and transmissions.
Telang's company is among several Indian automakers trying to expand into Europe. In August it bought bankrupt German supplier Wundsch-Weidinger, which produces plastic parts for interiors. It is a supplier to DaimlerChrysler, BMW, Volkswagen and others.
Harbour tours more than 50 plants each year to compile the influential Harbour Report, which grades the efficiency of North American automotive plants. This year's report named General Motors' Oshawa, Ontario, plant, which makes the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, the most efficient, taking 15.85 hours of labor per vehicle.
He advocates flexible production methods, which he says are crucial for automakers to adapt to consumer tastes and stay competitive in an increasingly fragmented market.
Harbour Consulting is expanding beyond North America. The first European report came out in 1997. Reports for Asia and South America also are being prepared.
Harbour joined Harbour Consulting, of Troy, Mich., in 1983. He has expanded its scope and oversees the firm's day-to-day operations.