TVS Group company, Wheels India, has signed a technical collaboration agreement with Topy Industries, a leading maker of steel wheels in Japan, to design, develop and make passenger car wheels.

The supplier expects the pact with the Japanese company will help it work more closely with OEM customers.

“Through this tie-up with Topy, Wheels India wants to be a part of the early stage development of steel wheels for passenger cars,” managing director Srivats Ram told just-auto.

Japanese and Korean carmakers such as Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai, have set up production bases in India and auto components suppliers are building capacity and forming alliances with global suppliers to bring the latest technology to India while keeping pace with global trends.

India is also a fast emerging global manufacturing and export hub for new vehicles and components. Wheels India plans both to ‘benchmark’ itself against global rivals, and increase capacity, to win new business from Japanese and Korean automakers.

It has has multiple factories in Chennai, Sriperumbudur, Pune, Rampur, Bawal and Pantnagar with a combined capacity of 13m tonnes a year.

The supplier plans to increase this to 15m tonnes by next year with an investment of INR700m (US$15m) and expand exports. Capacity will be added at Sriperumbuder and Chennai.

Wheels India has around 30 customers globally though over 80% of its business is still in India. The company exports wheels for off road construction  and agricultural vehicles to Japan, Korea, the US, Brazil, Belgium, South Africa, China and Indonesia.

One third of its revenue comes from commercial vehicles, 22% from passenger cars, 15% from construction and mining fields and 5% from air suspension systems.

The suspension systems are predominantly for buses but Wheels India also plans to make air suspension for trucks and trailers.

It manufactures its TVS-Wilride air suspension systems in Chennai through a technical agreement with Trelleborg  Australia.