Cummins to make India export base for BS VI equipment

Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger says the firm plans to bring all its top components and technologies, such as electronic fuel systems, to India


Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

New Delhi: India’s plans to leapfrog to Bharat Stage VI (BSVI) emission norms by skipping an intermediate stage had automakers in a tizzy but for Cummins Inc., manufacturer of engines and filtration technologies, the move marks the next phase of growth in India.

The company plans to bring all its top components and technologies, such as electronic fuel systems and after-treatment systems, to India and make the country an export hub for the world, global chairman and chief executive Tom Linebarger said in an interview Thursday.

“We see this as an opportunity for us. Not only can we bring new technologies, which means we can sell other things, we can (also) export (them) from India to other countries now,” Linebarger said.

“As part of Euro VI, you are now adding a lot of technologies, and that means investments in technology will create other jobs. Once you have these global technologies, then you can export them as well because all other countries are using them now,” he added.

The company is also setting up a technical centre in Pune, its second largest outside of the US, to augment these technologies and has plans to scale the centre to become the largest globally.

“Altogether, the investment is significant. I don’t have an exact figure,” he said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars. This is all new investment on top of what we have already invested.”

Emission is a global concern. While the Supreme Court temporarily halted the sale of passenger vehicles powered by diesel engines of 2,000cc capacity and above in the National Capital Region centred around Delhi in December last year (only to lift the ban in August), globally, Volkswagen AG was found guilty of using a “defeat device” in its cars that helped the firm manipulate emission data. In India alone, the company is expected to recall as many as 323,000 vehicles.

Linebarger said the Volkswagen fiasco has hurt the credibility of the global auto industry. “It makes people wonder about the claims that these companies make—are they true? It kind of drops trust for everybody in the industry and that’s a shame,” he added.

As a result, the Cummins board directed Linebarger to carry out a thorough check in-house.

“Before you start saying things, you first check your house. So we did a very thorough look through our company to make sure nothing like this was happening. Our board said we need to do that; so I went ahead,” he said.

The development has made the regulators wary across the globe. “Regulators are looking at things... and making sure there are no holes in the regulations,” he said.

However, that alone won’t solve the problem.

“You can just measure and say here is the culprit and we will take care of automobiles,” Linebarger said referring to the court ruling that banned larger cars.

“It feels good as you are sticking it to the rich people, but in actuality, it is not going to change the air. We need to have comprehensive action against all sectors,” he added.

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