Plastic Omnium expects to double sales from India to Euro 400 million in 5 years   | Autocar Professional

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Capitalizing on the booming vehicle market in India, French auto component maker Plastic Omnium expects to double its turnover from the Indian market to 400 million euros over the next five years. The company is looking to establish India as a technical hub for research and development while exploring new offerings in the alternative fuel market.

Plastic Omnium is a key player in the car module space with its bumpers and tailgates, and exterior systems as well as in plastic fuel tank systems. It also bought Varroc Engineering’s four-wheeler lighting business a few years ago. The company currently has four manufacturing plants in India (Pune, Chennai, Sanand and Gurgaon) and is setting up one more in Pune for the exterior systems.

“Our India operation is small compared to the rest of the countries. Turnover is around 200 million euros today. But India is a growing story for us. Turnover would double in the next five years,” Laurent Favre, Plastic Omnium’s chief executive officer, said today. The group’s total turnover during the calendar year 2023 was 11.4 billion euros.

China, the US and Germany are the group’s biggest markets in terms of turnover. However, Favre sees a big opportunity for growth in India with the surging vehicle sales. “Potentially, India can become very strong. If 7-8 million cars are going to be produced in India a year, the potential is here for us,” he said.

Plastic Omnium’s growth in India is expected to come from both exterior systems and plastic fuel bank businesses. “The market is changing from metal fuel tanks to plastic fuel tanks and that will give us a lot of opportunity to double the size of this market,” Favre said.

For the exterior parts business, the company recently launched the plastic tailgate, which allows carmakers to have lighter cars. “Weight is very important for fuel consumption. More and more carmakers are now willing to look at the plastic tailgate instead of steel,” he added.

Meanwhile, Plastic Omnium is in talks with some of its customers in India to expand offerings in alternative fuel vehicles. The company currently provides battery packaging solutions and battery management systems for electric vehicles outside India, while it offers fuel tanks for CNG and hydrogen vehicles using plastic instead of steel and carbon fiber around for pressure resistance.

“We are working with some carmakers to adapt what we have been developing for hydrogen to CNG. The advantage for the carmakers will be more fuel being stored, less weight and better packaging as well,” Favre said. 

Plastic Omnium’s India strategy is to serve the domestic market here with the addressable market expected to witness significant growth. It currently has no plans to export from India. 

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