Indian automakers are increasingly focusing on manufacturing lighter cars so TVS group company Sundaram Clayton has started trial magnesium casting production at its Padi plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Magnesium castings are lighter than aluminium castings. Sundaram Clayton already makes aluminium castings for the automotive and non-automotive sectors.

"Indian OEMs are looking to use magnesium die-casting to make light-weight cars," said Sundaram Clayton Group president and CEO CN Prasad. The company is talking with passenger car makers about supplier deals.

The company would initially focus on supplying magnesium die castings to premium car manufacturers and initially will suppply about 1,000 tonnes per year for high-end cars.

The Padi unit would likely to go fully commercial production in 2013.

Meanwhile, the company's third plant at Oragadam will become operational by next year. It will have a capacity to produce aluminium die-casts totalling 1,000 tonnes per month.

Sundaram Clayton has four plants, including one in Mahindra World City SEZ (Chennai), and Hosur (Bangalore) with total capacity of 40,000 tonnes. In a year or two, this will be increased to 60,000 tonnes.

Csutomers include Cummins, Daimler and Volvo globally.