With the new engineering center in Pune, International Automotive Components (IAC), a leading global supplier of automotive components and systems (including interior and exterior trim), aims to deliver innovative vehicle interiors to Indian customers and expand its footprint in the country’s automotive industry.
Automotive interior components’ supplier, International Automotive Components (IAC) recently opened a new regional and global engineering centre (GEC) in Pune to support vehicle interior needs of domestic and global customer programs. With this new centre, IAC has increased its presence in India to six locations.
Luxembourg headquartered IAC Group, which recorded sales of $ 6 billion in 2016, operates 77 manufacturing facilities in 18 countries. The company has approximately 100 locations in 21 countries, including 28 design, technical and commercial centers, and employs more than 31,000 people across the world.
The new GEC in Pune will accommodate up to 150 employees and provide design engineering and application development support to such OEMs as Mahindra and Mahindra and Tata, among others. “The new engineering centre will be focusing on design and engineering development of current programs while a dedicated team will focus on upcoming trends and regulations with key focus on cost optimization. The engineering centre is expected to attract a lot of fresh and key market talent and will also cater to increasing workload from IAC’s European and American operations that have resulted from providing flawless and high quality work over the past seven years,” said Gajanan Gandhe, Senior Vice President of Asia Operations, IAC.
Gaining new grounds in India
IAC India is one of the leading tier 1 suppliers of automotive interiors systems in the country with a dominant presence in western and northern regions and its products include interior parts like cockpits, instrument panels, door trims, floor console and interior trim parts. The company has four manufacturing facilities and by end of 2017 IAC will expand its operations to include Nashik and will also consolidate its manufacturing facilities at Manesar to make room for a bigger and more sophisticated operation. “In order to support manufacturing, and to meet the constant evolution of regulations and changing trends, IAC has now relocated its HQ and engineering centre to Pune where it can accommodate a larger workforce to meet the increasing demand from local and offshore business,” explained Sitangshu Nandy, Director of Sales and Business Development, IAC India.
The new engineering centre in Pune has freed up approximately 650 sq m of space at IAC’s existing Chakan II, India facility, which will be repurposed to expand its manufacturing operations to provide additional production capacity and product offerings.
IAC has been introducing innovative products aligned to the regulatory requirements. The company is working with OEMs on various initiatives, including light-weighting technologies and providing better noise and vibration insulations inside the cabin. “Considerable amount of focus is being given by OEMs to improve interior haptics and to bring a richer feel inside the cabin through refining ambient lighting, soft surface materials, etc. The centre will also focus on developing functional prototypes for consumer/customer clinics and feedback, reverse engineering, benchmarking and simulations through computer-aided engineering,” said Gandhe.
At the forefront of technological innovations
IAC has been working tirelessly in the area of automotive light-weighting. For example, the company is in the process of setting up new lines for headliners that will cut down the weight of the current headliner by 40% with improved sound absorptions. Other technologies to increase natural and recyclable composites will not only provide the advantage of light-weighting but will also improve the recycleable content of the vehicle
Enhancing vehicle safety has been another key area of focus for IAC. The company successfully introduced a patented air bag chute (canister) about six years ago with an Indian OEM that passed all environmental and regulatory testing. Based on its success, other OEMs are now working with IAC to introduce the same design for their upcoming vehicles. The company has also implemented a patented design for side impact crash pad that is capable of meeting side impacts for 5, 50 and 95 percentile occupants, thus providing a versatile and economic solution to the challenging regulatory requirement. Nandy stated, “Soon IAC will have the capability of introducing curtain air bag (CAB)-ready headliners from its new line. IAC India has capability of simulating crash conditions in-house through CAE, thus providing a risk-free design to customers.”
Importance of India in global auto industry
The Indian automotive industry is one of the most frugal markets in the world and continuously expects more with least cost impact. This will drive lot of innovations that will flow back to developed markets, especially when we have limited natural resources and quickly evolving markets. “Techies will play a major role in bringing to the table many innovations in connected cars that can be customised by the owners. However, we believe India will be absorbing lot of regulations and will implement them in the near future to make roads safer for both vehicle owners and pedestrians,” explained Nandy.
Regulatory bodies have already shown the intent of implementing safety and environmental norms by making air bags compulsory and enforcing BS4 from April this year and BS6 from 2020. It is also expected that India will introduce fuel economy standards similar to the CAFE standards in the US market.
Speaking about the company’s vision for growth in India, Gandhe said, “Whatever IAC has achieved is with a philosophy of win-win, whether it’s with our customers or supplier partners and our solutions are based on proposals where both parties benefit. This creates a long-term strategic relationship and enhances trust. IAC has been successful in bringing the latest trends and technologies to most of our customers. As a matter of fact, many of the automotive OEMs are currently engaged in discussions with IAC to upgrade or be ready for the upcoming market trends.”
International Automotive Components intends to keep expanding its operations in the country and add value to its customers. The objective is to be present in all the automotive regions of India in the near future either through organic growth or through joint ventures and acquisitions.
“The engineering centre is expected to attract a lot of fresh and key market talent and will also cater to increasing workload from IAC’s European and American operations that have resulted from providing flawless and high quality work over the past seven years.”
- Gajanan Gandhe,
Senior VP of Asia Operations, IAC
“Soon IAC will have the capability of introducing curtain air bag (CAB)-ready headliners from its new line. IAC India has capability of simulating crash conditions in-house through CAE, thus providing a risk-free design to customers.”
- Sitangshu Nandy, Director (Sales & Business Development), IAC India