Voith, the €5.7 billion German major has set its eyes on tapping the growing opportunities in the Indian rail and transportation market.

It has established a new gear box manufacturing unit at Voith Turbo, its fully owned subsidiary in Hyderabad. Immediate plans are to expand this with additional manufacturing facilities in the city, said Frank Gropengiesser, CEO of Rail Division and Board Member of Voith Gmbh, Germany.

"All signals indicate that India will be a fantastic market in the next decade. We want to be a strong player here with close relationships with customers and bring new technology and products", Gropengiesser told Business Line after inaugurating the new unit here.

With plans to make India its hub for rail products, the German major will focus on supply of gear boxes, power packs for engine efficiency improvements, a range of coupling devices. "We want to make products in India for the Indian market. In addition will serve the OEMs (like Alstom, Bombardier, Hyundai etc) to meet their domestic and export needs", he said.

Voith Turbo India has orders to supply couplers for Jaipur Metro rail, two orders from the Delhi Metro (one through Hyundai Rotor). It is actively pursuing the Ahmedabad and Lucknow metro projects. Overseas, the company has been supplying couplers manufactured in its existing plant at Hyderabad to Turkish Railways and Queensland, Australia, through Bombardier, said Debashis Basu, its Managing Director.

The big jump in the expansion of facilities means we bring in localisation of the components and sub-assemblies. Very soon the entire design, development of some products will be done in India. The first of these is the advanced coupler for the Indian Railways. Voith Turbo has won a trial order to supply these 100 per cent locally developed products in the next 12-15 months, he explained.

The Indian market can grow as huge as China, but will take time. The volumes will grow 3-4 times in the short time frame, but since gestation periods are long, it will be a long haul in India and Voith is fully geared to go the distance. It is strengthening its R&D base, adding significantly to its 30 design engineers at present. The focus will be on simulation, material sciences and energy efficiency, he added.