British and Indian motor manufacturers this week agreed on an attempt to transfer engineering skills and know-how.
A five-year memorandum of understanding between Britain’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and the Association of Indian Automobile Manufacturers is the first major agreement between the two organisations.
Its six main clauses call for collaboration on technology, training, market information, presentations and exchange of personnel.
The signing ceremony, witnessed by trade minister Lord Clinton-Davis, involved Ian McAllister, SMMT president; Ernie Thompson, chief executive; and Indian counterparts Brijmohan Lall and Rajat Nandi.
Bernard Flatley, SMMT manager for international trade, said: `This represents a major opportunity for British firms to develop their engineering skills and the like for one of the world’s fastest growing markets.’
Flatley will head the British side on a joint working group, involving up to four firms from each country.
Flatley believes the group will benefit firms looking to establish joint ventures. Wholly owned Western ventures on the subcontinent remain prone to failure.
`The way forward is very clearly through partnership, and this is a long term and renewable programme aimed at creating and maintaining the necessary links,’ said Flatley.
Car makers Hyundai and Daewoo have recently set up in India, and Honda and Mitsubishi plan to follow. Fiat, GM and Ford already have Indian operations.
The SMMT has an established cooperative agreement with India’s component producers’ body, the Automotive Component Manufacturers’ Association.
A meeting of the two bodies was addressed this week by representatives of Ford’s local joint venture on opportunities for Western firms.