Asian car and car parts manufacturers want to follow the example of Japan's NTN and buy companies in Europe that will give them a technological edge, an investment banker at Nomura International told an auto industry gathering.

Klaus Pflum, who heads the automotive team at the Nomura division, said the manufacturers could not find enough engineers in their home countries to help them stay ahead of the competition with innovative products.

"Indian and Chinese companies are looking to buy engineering power in western Europe and countries like Ukraine and Mexico," he told the Reuters Autos Summit.

Given the strong demand for know-how, industrial centres in China and India faced the problem of engineers constantly switching loyalties to the company who paid the most.

Among Japanese companies, there was a reluctance to buy big companies in Europe because of the difficulties involved in integrating them into their operations.

"It is not a money problem," he said.

These companies preferred to buy small, specialised outfits and let them run by themselves while making minor changes over a period of time, he said.

He cited the example of NTN, which last year agreed to buy a controlling stake in Renault bearings unit SNR Roulements for about JPY20bn yen ($US171m), making it the world's third-biggest maker of the product.

NTN expected the investment to help it accelerate its product development, boost its competitiveness and expand in Europe, Reuters said.

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