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Peugeot catapults Sanand into big league of auto hubs

Rutam Vora/Vinay Umarji  |  Mumbai/ Ahmedabad 

To have installed car manufacturing capacity of 655,000 by 2014.

Come 2014 and what used to be a small 'town' on the outskirts of Ahmedabad - Sanand - will be a name to reckon with in automobile industry in India. With the entry of a vehicle manufacturing plant by PSA Peugeot Citroen in Sanand, the erstwhile sleepy town has been catapulted to the league of India's prominent auto hubs such as Pune in Maharashtra and Sriperumbudur in Chennai.

By 2014, recently announced plants of Ford India and PSA Peugeot coupled with already operational plant of Tata Motors will result in Sanand carrying an installed capacity of 6,55,000 cars per annum. Of these, Peugeot, out of total planned capacity of 3,40,000 units in phased manner, is aiming for an initial installed capacity of 165,000 cars per annum by 2014. On the other hand, Ford India will also commission its car manufacturing facility by 2014 with an installed capacity of 240,000 cars per annum.

"By 2014, Sanand will be a big auto hub in the range of Chennai and Pune (Maharashtra). Gujarat government had been focussing on Sanand to develop it as an auto-engineering hub because of its proximity of Ahmedabad," said B B Swain, vice-chairman and managing director, Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC), which has allotted land to Ford and Tata Motors. Geographic advantage and pro-business environment and infrastructure has made car makers prefer Gujarat over other states.

Even Philippe Varin, chairman of the managing board, PSA Peugeot Citroën attributes three reasons for choosing Sanand for its plant. "Availability of greenfield land and ready infrastructure are couple of reasons for us to choose Sanand for the plant. Moreover, it is the enterprising nature of Gujarat that attracted us to the state," said Varin while announcing the company's foray into Sanand.

Add to that, with General Motors expanding existing capacity at its plant in Halol, Gujarat would be put onto the auto map of India with a total installed capacity of 7,65,000 cars per annum by 2014. This assumes importance specially when Tamil Nadu's installed capacity is pegged at 1.28 million cars per annum, while that of Maharashtra (most of which are in Pune) stands at 610,000 units per annum.

Addition of new manufacturing capacities, clubbed with the existing ones would place Gujarat on the global map of car manufacturing hubs. According to the projections by car makers, car manufacturing capacity in Gujarat would reach to a total of 7,65,000 cars per annum by 2014. This also includes existing capacities of Tata Motor's Nano plant with 250,000 cars per annum and General Motors' plant in Halol with 110,000 cars annually.

"Gujarat has pro-active administration. With respect to auto industry, Gujarat also enjoys a huge supplier base which makes it one of the emerging auto hub in India after Chennai, Talegaon and Chakan in Pune. After north India, western India has the second largest supplier base with respect to auto industry," said P Balendran, Vice President, General Motors India.

What's more, going forward, if Maruti follows the foot-steps of global auto giants, then days are not far that Gujarat would command car manufacturing industry in the country with a staggering installed capacities of close to over 1.7 million cars per annum. This would pip Tamil Nadu (TN)'s numero-uno status for car manufacturing in India and put Gujarat in the distinct club of top 10 centers in the world for car manufacturing.

Meanwhile, as per the figures provided by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), India's total passenger vehicle production stood at 2,987,296 units for for 2010-11.

(With inputs from Hrishikesh Joshi in Pune)

First Published: Fri, September 02 2011. 00:12 IST