Tata AutoComp Systems Ltd (TACO), part of India's Tata Group, and Stadco Ltd of the UK have signed up to a 50/50 joint venture which will see Stadco's strong and proven expertise in the European car industry allied to TACO's manufacturing automotive component strengths in the high skilled, but low cost Indian market.

The objective of the unique JV, to be known as TACO STADCO Automotive, is to offer a low cost 'offshore' body systems design and development resource for global component suppliers and vehicle makers, which will bring technology and knowledge to the Indian automotive industry.

Stadco is an acknowledged leader in body-in-white (BIW) engineering and manufacture. In 2004 it acquired the former Mayflower Vehicle Systems UK business, including its well-established product design and development capability.

TACO has extensive involvement in the Indian automotive component sector, which includes stamping and BIW capabilities via its Automotive Stampings and Assemblies Ltd business, which supplies Tata Motors and other vehicle makers based in India. TACO also has three engineering centres, in partnership with JCI, Faurecia and its own.

The first phase of the new JV will see the establishment of a product engineering centre in Pune, India, which will provide European technology and know-how to Indian vehicle makers seeking to develop new products and also offer a service design and development capability to European and US customers seeking to take advantage of low-cost design engineering services.

Further phases of the JV will build on these beginnings, initially offering the ability to manage programmes, both within and outside India, seeking a low cost tool development and manufacturing environment. In due course it is intended to provide a BIW manufacturing and assembly facility to service the Indian market, with potential for exports at a later stage.