Tube Investments to make car door panels for Tata Nano

February 15th, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by admin  

Chennai, Feb 15 (IANS) Tube Investments of India Ltd (TIIL) is building a plant in West Bengal’s Singur to supply car door panels for Tata Motors’ $2,500 Nano, unveiled last month as the world’s cheapest car. The Rs.16.36 billion ($412 million) company based here is also building two other new facilities at a combined cost of Rs.1 billion ($25 million). The company hopes to recover its Singur investment of Rs.250 million in four years.

Part of the $2-billion turnover conglomerate Murugappa group, TIIL is building another car door panel plant at Pune in Maharashtra at an outlay of Rs.350 million to supply Tata Motors’ new Indica.

Speaking to IANS, a company official said the Pune plant was expected to go on stream this September.

TIIL makes precision steel tubes and strips, car doorframes, automotive and industrial chains and bicycles. The company has 13 manufacturing and assembly units spread across the country.

Known as a group within the Murugappa group, TIIL has four major divisions that include TI Metal Forming (making car door panels and other metal-formed products), TI Cycles (cycles and fitness equipments), TI Diamond Chain (automotive and industrial chains) and Tube Products (steel tubes and strips).

TIIL commands nearly 65 percent market share in the roll-formed car door panel segment in India, supplying to automakers like Hyundai, Ford India, General Motors, Maruti Suzuki and others.

With the addition of two new factories, TIIL will have six facilities making car door panels. The other plants are in Chennai (2), Bawal in Haryana and Halol in Gujarat.

The company is also expanding its chain business by setting up a plant in Uttarakhand by spending Rs.400 million, mainly to supply Hero Honda Motors Ltd and others in northern India.

TIIL sees good demand for chains from the original equipment manufacturers within India and export orders for industrial chains.

The company is also moving closer towards entering the growing electric bikes (scooters, motorcycles and cycles) market.

The Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) has approved three out of four 250 cc electric bike models the company has submitted for testing.

The Murugappa company is hopeful of the fourth model getting ARAI approval.

The electric bike business will be managed by the cycle division as there is a synergy in operations. TI has an extensive distribution network for cycles.

The company plans to sell the electric bikes through its BSA GO retail chain as well as its other networks.

TI is also considering the option of setting up exclusive electric bike outlets.

The company will import the bikes in completely knocked down (CKD) form from Taiwan and China and assemble them at its Chennai facility.

With traditional two-wheeler makers like TVS Motor Ltd, Hero group and Kinetic group getting into this space, it will be interesting to see how the cycle major rises to meet the challenge.

TIIL is also planning to get into speciality retail sector to sell sports, adventure, fitness and other products and got the shareholders’ approval for this purpose recently.

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