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Sunday, Jan 18, 2004

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Mico plans to make CRDi gear in India

K. Giriprakash

New Delhi , Jan. 17

AUTO ancillary maker Mico is firming up plans to manufacture common rail direct injection (CRDi) equipment in India that could see drop in sales of its flagship brand, the inline pumps, the heart of most diesel vehicles in the country.

In another development, with the Government taking a decision to implement the new Euro norms, Mico is expected to revive plans to pump in around Rs 250 crore in its Jaipur plant.

The company was also forced to defer its investment plans worth Rs 250 crore because of recession in the industry and delay in implementing Euro II emission norms in the country.

The Mico Managing Director, Dr Albert Hieronimus, told Business Line at the Auto Expo, 2004 that the company was studying all the options for manufacture of CRDi equipment in India.

It could manufacture the entire equipment or some of the parts and source the rest from other Asian countries where Bosch has its plants. Bosch is setting up manufacturing facilities in China and Thailand shortly that would take the number of plants in Asia to five.

"It does not make economical sense to manufacture the entire equipment in India," Mr Hieronimus said. Bosch has so far sold 15 million units of CRDi equipment worldwide.

He admitted that there could be a drop in sales for inline pumps, though they could still be manufactured for off-highway vehicles such as tractors.

"In 2005, there could be a major drop in sales but we have already decided to make them for off-highway vehicles."

Mr Hieronimus said that Mico sells distribution pumps for some vehicle manufacturers but with the introduction of CRDi pumps, they would give far higher fuel efficiency, more drivability and less noise.

The company is ready to launch the anti-lock braking system (ABS) in India, though car manufacturers are yet to incorporate it as standard equipment in their models.

Currently, car manufacturers import ABS for their models sold in India. He said all cars in Europe are fitted with ABS as standard equipment.

"Indian car makers may find it difficult to export their cars if they don't fit ABS in them."

The labour problems that affected Mico during the whole of last year was behind them now.

"There has been an amicable settlement and we don't expect any more problems on that front," Mr Hieronimus said.

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