Karnataka, which has the presence of automobile and machine tool majors like Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Bosch, has received a boost at the Global Investors’ Meet in Bangalore with companies keen on expanding their operations in the state.
The Bosch group has expressed interest to set up a plant to manufacture auto components in Bidadi over an area of 100 acres. The company is looking at an investment of Rs 550 crore in the plant. It is yet to take a call on the manufacturing capacity of this plant and when it will start operations.
General Motors India is set to increase headcount at its Bangalore R&D centre from 1,600 to 2,000 employees by the end of the year. The company said it would develop its small electric car for India by leveraging a combination of its global technology and local knowledge of this centre.
“We are not setting any time limit on when we will come out with our small electric car. But we will pursue our own programme and use both our global and local knowledge for it,” said Karl Slym, president and managing director of GM India. The company plans to hire PhDs, engineering graduates and technical staff for the centre.
GM plans to launch Volt, a battery-operated car in the US in the fourth quarter of the calendar year. “We are yet to decide the market for electric vehicles in India,” said Slym. The company said there are no immediate plans to bring the Volt to India. There has been speculation recently that the company was working on a rival to Tata Nano. Slym said the company was looking at cars at various segments. “We are not necessarily focused on the price of a car and will look at what value the car offers,” said Slym.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which is setting up a second plant at Bidadi with an investment of Rs 3,200 crore said phase one would have a production capacity of 70,000 units a year. The company said it would extend this capacity to 2,00,000 units a year in the second phase. It is planning to launch its small car Etios by the end of the year. It is also evaluating the possibility of exporting this car overseas. The company’s dealer network will increase from 74 to 150 by the end of 2010.