Yapp Zoom Automotive Systems has opened a plastic fuel tank manufacturing factory at Ford’s new suppliers park near Chennai. The automaker recently ramped up car and engine production capacity to build the Figo hatchback, an updated local variant of the previous generation Fiesta .

The tank project is a joint venture between Yangzhou-based YAPP Automotive Parts and Mumbai-based Zoom Developers. The INR60 crore (about US$15m) plant has an annual capacity of around 250,000 plastic fuel tanks in the 30-100 litres capacity range, for cars and SUVs.

Most Indian car manufacturers import such tanks so the venture doesn’t expect any major local competition initially.

Yapp president Sun Yan said: “Plastic fuel tanks for automotive vehicles is a worldwide phenomenon and now being adopted by the Indian automotive sector as well.” He hoped the factory would gain momentum and significantly benefit the Indian automotive sector.

Yapp enjoys about 50% of the Chinese plastic fuel tank market and customers there include the local JVs of VW , Audi , GM, Ford, Citroen , Peugeot and Chrysler. 
Chairman Deng Hua said the facility took 24 months to build after the joint venture was established. Yapp is now eyeing building more in Indian supplier parks, delivering other OEMs on a just-in-time basis.

Local Ford chief Michael Boneham said: “Ford China partnered with Yapp Automotive Parts and this expanded to other countries and regions as well.”