GKN Driveline has opened a new precision forging factory at Oragadam near Chennai in Tamil Nadu state.

The 5,000 sq m plant, 50km (30 miles) from the Indian automaking and shipping hub of Chennai, will supply precision forgings to GKN Driveline's Oragadam CVJ Systems manufacturing plant which annually produces 1.2m sideshafts for automakers in south India. The plant was opened in 2008 to meet rapidly local demand.

GKN Driveline said it had had spent INR480m (GBP6.6m) on the new forging facility to ensure that CVJ Systems benefits from in-house proprietary forging technologies and quality. The forge will employ 60 people initially . 

"This forging facility is our first wholly-owned forging facility in the Asia Pacific region and reinforces our commitment to our India-based customers," said Marc Vuarchex, managing director, GKN Driveline Asia Pacific. "Since the early 1980s, we have viewed India as an extremely important market for us. We now employ over 800 people in the country."

Ravindra Ojha, managing director of GKN Driveline in India said: "Our business in India continues to grow at an annual rate of 15% and this investment helps ensure that we will continue to meet our customers' [growing needs] throughout the region."