Even as the domestic automotive component industry is making its mark in the global arena, the country's second-largest commercial vehicle manufacturer, Ashok Leyland, said components from China form an intrinsic part of its products and that the company would increase imports.
"Our approach to China is different. We do not import merely to exploit short-term cost advantage but as a long-term strategy where products are designed and developed together," said R. Seshasayee, managing director, Ashok Leyland.
“We took time to develop our suppliers in China and will not sever ties just because prices go up today. We are also paying higher prices to some of our Indian suppliers as we have a long-term plan with them.”
The auto component industry is concerned about increase in import of Chinese components, casting aspersions to their quality and durability. Imports from China, which in 2003-04 made up 1.5 per cent of total component imports, now accounts for over 10 per cent, valued at about Rs 2,000 crore. Seshasayee however said quality was not an issue.
"China is systematically developing its component industry... quality may be an issue in some quarters, (but) largely it is a very capable industry," he added. "As we look to become part of the global industry, China has to be part of our strategy."
The Rs 6,700-crore Hinduja group flagship company imports forging and casting items, rubber and electrical items from China, which make up for around 12 per cent of the components in its trucks and buses.