INTERVIEW: Tenneco to invest US$20m in Indian operations

By Satnam Singh | 5 April 2011

As automakers set up plants and hike capacities to cater to the growing automobile market in India, component manufacturers are also building additional capacity to meet the demand.

Partmakers are even reaching out to OEMs by setting up just-in-time plants dedicated to one automaker.

Tenneco, manufacturing shock absorbers, exhaust systems and catalytic converters  in India, had already spent about US$20m here by 2010 and has finalised further spending for the next three years.

“We are planning to invest another $20m building capacity in existing plants in Bawal, Chennai and the new plant in Chakan,” managing director Abhijit Mukerjee said in an exclusive interview with just-auto.

Tenneco currently has seven plants in Bawal (supplying Maruti Suzuki), Hosur (for Tata, Nissan, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota and Ford), Pondicherry (aftermarket and OE export), Pune (just-in-time facility for Tata & M&M) Chennai (Renault-Nissan) and Pune (M&M, Tata, GM and VW) and Halol (a dedicated factory for GM).

It is also building a new exhaust plant in Chaken. “We will shift the existing Pune facility to the upcoming Chaken plant. The plant will be operational at the beginning of 2012,” said Mukerjee.

Tenneco specialises in emission control and ride control products and systems both for OEMs and aftermarket. It has sales of $4.6bn annually and around 80 manufacturing facilities on six continents plus 14 engineering centres world wide.

It is also gearing up its R&D activities in India. “Our Hosur unit has a dedicated R&D unit for ride control products and we are setting up an R&D centre for emission control at the upcoming Chaken plant,” Mukerjee said. Tenneco plans to almost triple sales by its Indian operations in the next three years.

“We would likely triple revenue from India by 2015 and expect to book 25% growth year on year,” he said.

Tenneco is also targeting the Indian commercial vehicle (CV) and two wheel markets as well.

“Currently, our focus is more on the passenger car segment with 80% of the revenue generation from car OEMs. We will likely increase the share of CVs and two wheelers in the next five years,” Mukerjee said.

The company plans to hire more people in the next couple of years. Currently, it has 1,500 people working at its seven units.