#Putting it in context, #August 2017

India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj Ladwa tracks how India has driven its auto sector on to the road of global success.

Even as you read this piece, there are at least 1,500 passenger cars and 6,000 motorcycles being loaded onto ships at some Indian port for export to the Middle East, Africa, Europe and even the US. The badges they wear read like a veritable who’s who of the international auto industry and include such marquee names as Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Suzuki and Renault among cars and Honda, Bajaj and Hero MotoCorp among two-wheelers. And I haven’t even mentioned tractors, heavy, medium and light commercial vehicles, three-wheelers and a host of complex and simple auto components.

Over the last three decades, India has developed a very robust domestic automobile sector where the world’s largest and most popular brands jostle for market share with home-grown auto majors such as Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Auto Ltd and Hero MotoCorp, among many others.

Today, it is not uncommon to find consumers in the most developed countries in the world driving around in Made in India vehicles. Yes, a vast majority of these vehicles carry the brand names of US, European, Japanese and South Korean companies but make no mistake – each of these cars has been assembled by Indian technicians in Indian factories and mostly with components that are not only made in India but also designed at R&D labs in that country.

Then, it took an Indian enterprise and billions of dollars of Indian investments to restore and renew the glory of iconic British car maker Jaguar Land Rover and revive its fortunes. Another Indian multinational, Apollo Tyres, too, has recently invested about $500-million in a plant in Hungary, its second in Europe after the one in the Netherlands.

All these examples show that the Indian automobile industry is now fully integrated into the global supply chain – and a source of both components and kits as well as fully assembled vehicles to assembly plants, OEMs and showrooms around the world.

In this issue of ‘India Global Business’, we celebrate the global success of this indigenisation effort with our cover story titled ‘Picking up speed’ not only because it is, arguably, among the most successful Make in India initiatives but also because of the lessons it holds for the Narendra Modi government’s efforts to transform India into a global manufacturing hub, which is a precondition to providing new jobs to the millions of young Indians who enter the country’s workforce every year.

The beginnings were small, mostly unheralded and, as is usual with most path breaking economic initiatives in India, widely criticised for opening up the Indian market to foreign players.

Note the similarities with the Modi government’s efforts to build a domestic defence-industrial base in India and its efforts to position India as a global electronics manufacturing hub.

From those small beginnings in the early 1980s, when a handful of Japanese car and two-wheeler makers set up plants to assemble a few thousand units of their vehicles a year from completely or semi knocked down kits imported from their mother countries, India slowly, and organically, developed a local vendor base to bring down the import component in these vehicles to globally acceptable levels and even developed the knowhow and “know why” to be able to develop not only components but complete cars and bikes within the country.

Today, India makes more than 3 million passenger cars and close to 20 million two-wheelers and exports more than half a million of the former and about 2 million of the latter.

China and before it the South East Asian Tiger Economies all followed this approach when they set out to conquer the world of business at various times in the last century.

India is a late adopter of this approach but, as its success in the automobile sector shows, has the necessary wherewithal, including the scientific base and manufacturing capabilities, to replicate this success in other complex engineering sectors.

There are reports that India is considering issuing licenses for the assembly of F-16 or SAAB Gripen fighter planes in India if their parent companies agree to replicate their domestic eco-system of vendors and developments in India. The same is also happening in the case of submarines and artillery guns and small arms.

These initiatives, too, will have to start with limited initial ambitions. But if they are nurtured well and seen through to their logical end, we could well see Made in India fighter planes flying with NATO and Japanese colours one day and consumers in my home country, the UK, speaking on mobile phones and advancing their careers with computers and tablets assembled by an Indian company in England.

Meanwhile, apart from our in-depth feature on the Indian auto sector, there is a usual wealth of material on India’s global march in the pages ahead of this edition.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

#Cover Feature/Auto, #August 2017

Y.K. Koo, as Managing Director & CEO of Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), is in the driving seat of one of the leading automotive giants in India. ‘India Global Business’ explores his vision for the Indian market, plans for the country as an exports hub and R&D plans for the region.

How important is India for Hyundai globally, as a market and as a production hub?

India has emerged as an important automotive market and offers huge growth potential for automobile companies. At Hyundai, our aim is to become our customers’ lifetime partner in automobiles and beyond by providing new value and experience to customer beyond their expectation. Over the past few decades, we have gained strong market leadership position with sustainable growth through consistent innovation, market research and widening our product portfolio through new launches equipped with new technology and features that are relevant to the Indian market.

#Cover Feature/Auto, #August 2017

Country’s robust automobile manufacturing base is now churning out cars and bikes for diverse geographies from Latin America, Africa to East Asia and Australia.

In fiscal 2016, India exported more cars across the world than China. On the one hand, it does not mean much. In the overall list of top car exporters, India still ranks a poor 20th. Even among emerging economies in Asia, it is behind Thailand.

Yet, overtaking China has its own importance. It is the world’s largest automotive market and also the largest producer. The growth of China’s economy in the last two decades has been led by its rise as an export giant — first in textiles and then in steel followed by computer hardware. It is difficult to find a smartphone or a computer today that does not have even one component that is made in China.

#August 2017, #Other Highlights

Indian companies have marked out a significant presence in the large and prosperous Nigerian market. This presence will grow further as India’s public sector oil majors are expected to invest up to $15 billion in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.



A vast majority of Indians are not aware that Nigeria is an economic powerhouse whose citizens, on average, earn $2,123 per year, 20 per cent more than India’s per capita income of $1,850.

#UK/EU, #August 2017

The number of Indian-built models registered by British buyers rose by almost half (48.6 per cent) to 21,135 units in the first half of this year alone.

UK car production fell by -13.7 per cent in June, with 136,901 cars rolling off production lines, according to recent figures released by the UK’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The third consecutive month of decline, following changes in production schedules for new model introductions, resulted in a -2.9 per cent year to date dip in output, triggering alarm bells over the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU).

#August 2017, #Guest Columns

An industry expert explains the significance of Project exports to India’s growth agenda.

Project is an engineering venture or mission: a scheme of development work to be executed by employing the best technologies, continuous innovation and resources – human, financial and physical to create a capital asset. As technology advances, projects tend to move up in sector size as well as technological sophistication in the value-chain.

Project Exports, in essence, connotes setting up of projects overseas as construction and/or engineering projects. It could also involve the export of engineering consultancy or other engineering services as desired by the project owner. In simple terms, export of engineering goods/services on deferred payment terms which lead to execution of turnkey projects including civil construction works abroad are collectively referred to as Project Exports.

#April 2017, #Sector Focus/IT

Automation in the global IT industry threatens to disrupt the sector in -India but it may be a blessing in heavy disguise. For the stagnant industry, robots may pave the way for the next round of growth.

On March 19, news reports suggested Cognizant, the New-Jersey headquartered software services firm may fire between 6,000-10,000 workers in its bid to reduce redundant and non-performing workers. As the news spread and doomsday predictions started ringing, the firm’s spokesperson sought to cool frayed nerves stating this was part of the company’s annual appraisal process when the bad apples are weeded out.

#April 2017, #Sector Focus/IT

A tech expert traces India’s journey from an outsourcing hub of the 1990s to an innovation destination of today.

When I first became aware of the Indian tech sector in 1993, India would have been the least likely candidate to be named an innovation hub. Back then, and for many years, it was known more as a place where you could outsource your software development at low cost. Or in manufacturing, as the then secretary of department of electronics used to tell me, it was becoming known for ‘screwdriver assembly’, whereby product kits were imported and then assembled in India for either local consumption or re-export.

#2016, #October 2016, #More from this edition

Yoga is today considered a $80-billion market globally but is India, its country of origin, doing enough to invest in truly nurturing the impact of this mega export. Our yoga expert writes about how proverbial bridges between the academic, scientific and spiritual thought leaders could be answer.

My medical history notes read “45 yrs female SSC c LBP”. The lower case ‘c’ is medical shorthand for ‘with’ and LBP means lower back pain. The acronym SSC regularly appears in my consultation notes these days and stands for ‘suffered and survived cancer’.