Call it the ‘Nano’ effect. Global automobile giants are taking a renewed look at India's designing and engineering capability. Sweden's Volvo Cars is the latest to join in.
“We are looking at India’s design and engineering excellence. A pilot project to explore the potential will be set up this year,” Magnus Jonsson, senior vice president (research and development) at Volvo Cars Corporation, told Hindustan Times.
The move underscores Volvo's growing interest in India, one of the world's fastest growing auto markets. Volvo Car is expanding its dealership network here and plans to pick 7-9 new dealers this year. The company's network is currently limited to three cities: Delhi, Mumbai and Chandigarh.
Volvo's plan to explore an R&D facility in India assumes significance as it comes at a time when several global players are beginning to move their design and engineering work to India.
Maruti Suzuki Ltd., the country's largest car maker which 54 per cent controlled by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp., has plans to treble the number of engineers and designers at its R & D centre over the next three years. Currently, it has about 300 people working on the research and development side. That number, a source said, will go up to 1,000.
Suzuki has already announced plans to make Concept A-Star and Concept Splash here. Maruti's designers have played a key role in the design of Concept A-Star, which was unveiled at a auto show in New Delhi in January.
US automaker General Motors already has a significant R&D base in Bangalore. The Bangalore center employs 1,000 engineers and designers working for GM's global operations. Plans are afoot to double the strength in next 2-3 years.