Dilip Chhabria Design ties up with ETA's Eximstar

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New co DCStar to customise cars to suit customers' needs


Our Bureau

Chennai, Aug. 21

Dilip Chhabria Design Pvt Ltd, which specialises in automobile design and prototyping services, has tied up with Eximstar, an ETA group company, to promote a company that will customise cars and other vehicles to suit customers' requirements.

The new company, DCStar, will be set up in Dubai and begin production in the second half of 2007. The initial investment in the company will be about $10 million, of which $1 million will come in as equity. Dilip Chhabria Design will hold a 40 per cent stake in the equity and the ETA group the balance.

According to Mr Dilip Chhabria, promoter of Dilip Chhabria Design, and Mr P.S.M. Habibulla of the ETA group, there is a growing demand for customised luxury cars of the likes of Porsche or a Benz in the Gulf, a market where a range of all these luxury cars are easily available.

DCStar has customised a few high end cars like the Mercedes Benz S500 and Porsche, which it showcased in the Dubai Motor Show and will now be displayed at the China Auto show, according to ETA representatives.

The new company has got about 500,000 sq ft of space in Dubai industrial city. Initially, work on modifying the cars and other vehicles - armoured cars, stretch limousines, luxury coaches and special purpose vehicles - will be carried out at Dilip Chhabria Design's plant in Pune, Maharashtra, after which all the work will be done at the joint venture's facility. The joint venture is expected to employ about 200 people when in full production.

According to Mr Chhabria, his company will bring to the joint venture its expertise in re-designing and customising vehicles, while the ETA group will bring capital, the manufacturing facility and marketing ability.

Mr Habibulla and Mr H.M. Saleem Ansari, General Manager, Eximstar, said that customised cars in West Asia now came from either the US or Europe. The joint venture hoped to capture a substantial chunk of this market. It was confident of selling about 200 vehicles in the first full year of operation.

With this joint venture in place, Dilip Chhabria Design hopes to focus more on international prototyping of vehicles. The company hadworked on prototyping for various global car manufacturers and this business contributednearly a third of its turnover of about Rs 20 crore. Mr Chhabria said he hopedto increase this to more than two-thirds of the company's revenues in the near future. The company would gradually do all the vehicle customising at the Dubai facility.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 22, 2006)
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