Volkswagen AG is fast emerging as one of the biggest global OEMs that source plastic components in India.
“We would likely to source around $66.7 million worth of plastic components for our production facility in India,” said Mahesh Kodumudi, executive director for components purchasing for Volkswagen Group India. He was interviewed at the recent Automotive Plastics India conference in Mumbai.
“The volume would grow with growth in production in the future as demand for the VW models grow.”
VW is sourcing all kinds of plastic components for its plant in Chakan, India, including instrument panels, carpet, bumpers and door trim panels. The company's nameplates of Polo, Fabia, Vento and Rapid have a high degree of local content.
“Vento has the highest plastic content among the VW range available in India,” Kodumudi said.
On average, VW cars in India contain 286-308 pounds of plastic components in cars that weigh around 2420 pounds, compared with other cars that carry around 240 pounds.
However, Kodumudi said VW has “no plans to further hike the plastic content in our range in India, not in near future.”
VW has invested about $333.7 million in tooling and vendor development, he said. Finding a vendor base that could meet its technical standards took some time.
“Initially, suppliers were not understanding our technical requirements, and meeting our technical specifications was a huge challenge. We do not intend to dilute our brand image. Moreover, we want to manufacture cars in India for the export market and we do not [want to] have to make two different cars,” Kodumudi said.
Currently, VW has 115 local vendors, and that number is likely to grow to 150-160 once it starts manufacturing 250,000 to 300,000 units in India.
“Our next step is deeper localization that includes getting polymers and compounds from Indian vendors. Polypropylene is a top target,” he said.
Many global suppliers have set up production facilities in India, including Visteon Corp. and International Automotive Components Group, but they are not using locally made compounds.
Meanwhile, VW's global sourcing is rising consistently.
“We have been sourcing around $120.1 million worth of components from our Indian vendor base for VW's operations worldwide,” Kodumudi said. “The sourcing would likely go up [$400 million] in four to five years,” Kodumudi said.
VW is targeting a 10 percent share of the Indian car market within five years.