5 automobile testing, R&D centres to be operational by 2011

5 automobile testing, R&D centres to be operational by 2011

New Delhi: India will build five more global automobile testing centres catering to the growing domestic industry and also manufacturers from South East Asia dependent on European test tracks at present.

Two state-of-the-art automobile testing and homologation (compliance with saftey and emission standards of the country) centres are already in operation. The remaining five would be operational by September 2011, a senior official said on Wednesday.

To bridge infrastructural deficiency in the automobile sector, the Centre had proposed to set up state-of-the-art testing, validation, research and development facility centres under the National Automotive Testing and Research and Development Infrastructure Project (Natrip) with an investment of about Rs1,800 crore.

“The centres at Ahmednagar and Pune has already started their operations and the remaining will be operational by September 2011," joint secretary in the Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises ministry Ambuj Sharma told reporters on the sidelines of an Assocham function.

The testing centres would come up at Manesar near Gurgaon, Chennai, Rae Bareilly, Indore and Silchar.

Elaborating on the plan to attract business from South East Asia, Sharma said, “There are manufacturers in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka who can utilise these facilities."

Sharma said that after the completion of these centres, the government would talk to the auto companies in South East Asia to use the facilities.

“Once we complete these facilities, we will interact with those manufacturers there...most of them are based in India... companies which are in India like Volvo, Mercedez and Fiat are also represented in South East Asian countries," he said.

Automobile majors like GM, Hyundai, Suzuki, Fiat and Honda have manufacturing facilities in India.

Natrip is a public-private-partnership between the central, state governments and the Indian automotive industry.

Availability of such infrastructure would help the government in introducing superior safety, emission and performance standards in automotive sector. The centres would test modern vehicles and components and promote value addition in automotive manufacturing.

Once these facilities are operational, “we will interact with those manufacturers (to use these testing centres)," Sharma said, adding that these facilities will be Euro-IV compliant and would be equipped to do testings for that level.

All the new centres would be autonomous and would be managed and operated by professionals.

Sharma said the industry will make use of the facilities and pay user charges.