The automotive sector is one of India’s largest and fastest growing manufacturing sectors. With a turnover of US$13 B, the automobile sector employs about 0.45 million people directly and 10 million people indirectly, including after-sales and servicing networks. This ranked India as the 11th largest passenger car producer in the world. In the category of motorcycles and scooters, India is ranked 1st and 2nd respectively. With India increasingly liberalizing its market place, many new joint ventures evolved, resulting in close to 2 dozen global auto manufacturers setting up shop in India
The auto component segment is equally robust, supplying the entire range of parts required by the domestic automobile industry and currently employs about 250,000 people. Although small by global standards, this segment is growing rapidly as a result of its low costs and rising quality. Sales turnover of parts is estimated to have reached US$8.7 B in 2004/05, 29% higher than the previous year. Noticeably, auto component manufacturers supply to two kinds of buyers – original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and the replacement market. Over 300 small and medium companies directly service the OEMs assembling vehicles in India. Downstream, close to 5,000 other micro firms are working for these Tier 1 suppliers, as well as for the replacement market
The sector can be segmented into 2. One is the automobile segment. The other is the auto parts segment. The key manufacturing areas for these 2 segments are well spread across the country.
The growth of India’s automotive sector is driven by the key forces below:
Automotive related imports are largely in auto parts, accounting for a lion’s share of 85%. These imports will feed the manufacturing plants, producing vehicles for domestic market as well as export market.
As the demand from the domestic market increases with rising affluence, production will increase in tandem, hence requiring more imports of parts, especially those of higher precision which still cannot be done in India. Global players in India still need to import fairly large amount of auto parts for their automobile assembly as quality and technological standards of auto parts sourced from within India may not meet their high standards. The expected Increase in exports of India-made vehicles will also contribute to import growth of auto parts.
Automotive related exports expanded rapidly in recent years. Automobile exports grew at a compound annual growth rate of 46% between 2001 and 2006. Export share of production increased from 3% in 2001 to 8% in 2006. The growth is boosted by these several factors such as India’s cost competitiveness in terms of labor and raw material; established manufacturing base; economies of scale due to domestic market; potential to harness global brand image of the parent company, as well as the global hub policy for small cars like Hyundai, Suzuki, etc
Most automotive exports go to developing countries in Asia, where inexpensive cars can find a market. Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria are important destinations for India’s automotive exports. More recently, as the quality and technology of India-made automobiles have improved and met stringent requirement of the international market, some cars have found buyers even in Western Europe.
Similarly for auto parts, exports have been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 25% over 2000-2005. Share of exports in total production increased to 18% in 2005 from 10% in 1997. Foreign carmakers in rich countries are increasingly turning to India for parts, as low costs, relatively good technology base and access to cheap raw material make India highly competitive in its auto parts exports.
The main export markets are the USA, Germany, Japan, Sweden, the UK and Italy. Asia, Africa and the Middle East together take up 44% of India’s auto part exports.
Government efforts and regulatory frameworks are also key driving forces to the automotive industry in India. Currently, 100% foreign direct investment in the automotive industry, with no mandatory minimum level of investment is allowed. No local tie up is necessary since the sector has already been fully de-licensed and deregulated. This provides a strong impetus for global auto players to set up shop in India. Further, excise duty and custom taxes have also been kept competitive in order to make participation in the automotive industry conducive
On top of these, an Automotive Mission Plan is also being drafted to develop the domestic sector, as well as the export market. It aims to develop India into a premier automotive hub. Moving forward, India targets to become one of the top 5 automotive economies
Trade/economic co-operation agreements between India and the region or other international markets will boost India’s exports of both automobile and parts to the region/international markets. Going forward, the potential agreements are: TVS Group’s plan to invest in Indonesia to manufacture 2-wheeler; FTA between India and ASEAN (negotiation in progress) would also offer opportunities for direct trade and investment between India and ASEAN countries; FTA with countries like China, Korea, Japan, Chile, etc