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Plastic Omnium to expand auto operations in India

By: Satnam Singh

November 7, 2012

MUMBAI, INDIA (Nov. 7, 2:30 p.m. ET) — Cie. Plastic Omnium SA of Levallois, France, plans to expand extensively in India.

The company is planning an engineering center, a just-in-time assembly and sequencing plant, and an auto exteriors plant to cater to expanding auto hubs in various parts of the country.

“We are setting-up an engineering center in Pune in 2013. Initially, it would have a strength of 15 engineers,” Jean-Paul Moulin, structure and body product line director for Plastic Omnium Auto Exterior, said Nov. 1 at the Automotive Plastics India conference in Mumbai.

Employment at the site eventually could reach 40, he added.

By the end of this year, the company also expects to complete its fourth just-in-time unit, in Chakan, India. That facility will make components for Mumbai automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.’s futuristic model range, Moulin said.

Plastic Omnium recently bought out its auto exterior joint venture in India with Varroc Group.

In Europe, Plastic Omnium is working on contracts for total weight savings of 242 pounds by replacing metal auto components with plastic ones. Currently, it is replacing front-end carriers, fender carriers, trunk floors and tailgates with plastic components. It plans to add back-seat floors, inner hoods, bulk heads and roof frames by 2015.

By 2017, structural parts like door structures, main floors, pillars, bumper beans, cross members and battery housings would be replaced by plastic parts.