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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

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Roots Ind flags off first shipment of horns to Ford

L.N. Revathy

Coimbatore , May 24

THE first consignment of horns to Ford Motor Company, US, from the Coimbatore-based manufacturer of automobile horns, Roots Industries Ltd, was flagged off last week. The consignment contained 20,000 horns and was valued at $40,000 (Rs 18 lakh). It is expected to reach the US port within the next four weeks.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr N.V. Krishnan, Director (Marketing), Roots Industries, said that the sourcing agreement was signed in September 2003 and the pilot despatch took place in February 2004. "This is in the nature of an Original Equipment (OE) supply. We have contracted for supply of two million horns annually. This volume is said to cater to just about 25 per cent of Ford USA's automobile horn requirement. We are hoping that the requirement would progressively go up in the coming years," he said.

Considering the high volumes and the stringent norms imposed on the supplies to the US market, Roots has set up a separate Rs 3-crore unit at Thoppampatti near Coimbatore to manufacture wind tone horns. Anticipating more orders and the consequent need for enhancement in its manufacturing facilities, the company is contemplating an expansion in the second phase on an estimated outlay of Rs 5.5 crore.

Mr Krishnan said that the company was working with Ford USA on newer projects and the supplies could commence from 2005. "We have enquiries from Ford UK, too," he added.

Roots, he said, had recruited 170 employees (most of whom were in the operator grade) to work on this project. The company has also positioned resident engineers at US and was in the process of establishing a branch office at Detroit to enhance customer support, Mr Krishnan said.

The company is hoping to achieve an export turnover of Rs 15 crore during the current fiscal. It is targeting a turnover of Rs 23 crore in the next fiscal.

On other developments, Mr Krishnan said that Roots had, in late 2003, set up a wholly owned subsidiary in Malaysia to meet the demand for automobile horns in and around that region. The commercial production has since commenced.

The company, which is already supplying horns to around 15 countries across the globe, is looking at tapping newer markets. "Apart from the US, Japan, Germany and most SAARC countries, our supplies extend to Iran, Turkey, Vietnam, and the countries in the Middle East," he said.

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