Around 600 top-level experts representing India’s automobile and related supplier industries, mechanical engineering, electronics manufacturing, and aerospace, attended a pair of symposia staged in India in mid-November by VDW, the German Machine Tool Builders’ Association. The audiences in Poona and Bangalore were knowledgeable, interested in learning more, and eager to enter into discussions, according to the organizers, which included the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) as well as the VDW.
Carl Martin Welcker, chairman of the VDW, was jubilant at the events’ success. “There was a lively response to the offers presented by the 17 German companies involved,” he reports. “Indian customers react very positively indeed when high-ranking representatives of prestigious German companies travel to India personally to present new products, technologies, solutions, and services that are ’made in Germany’.”
A rapidly rising India has become the leading boom market for the German machine tool sector in recent years. “We Germans have a very good reputation here,” comments Welcker. However, Germany is engaged in fierce competition locally with the Japanese. “We therefore have to grasp every possible opportunity to retain our foothold and boost our own position,” says Welcker, who adds that the challenge is primarily a question of increasing public awareness of German manufacturers in the mass market and of demonstrating competence in technology and service.
In 2006, the volume of the Indian machine tool market exceeded €780 million. Germany was the most important supplier. Since 2002, German exports to India have grown annually at double-digit rates, and the total volume has more than quadrupled. Demand is particularly strong for machining centres, and for grinding, forging, and gear-cutting machines.
The Indian manufacturing industry strongly encourages machine tool importation, as the domestic machine tool industry on its own cannot cope with the explosion in demand. For German suppliers, this opens up a vast area of business potential. Accordingly, in the first six months of this year, incoming orders from India were double what they had been in the equivalent period last year.
“The longstanding experience of German middle-sized enterprises in the international automobile industry cannot be anything other than beneficial to Indian suppliers in expanding their own business with this demanding customer segment,” explains Bernhard Steinruecke, director general of the IGCC. “That is why we hope this forum will lead to as many intensive contacts and as much initiation of business as possible between Indian companies and German suppliers.”
This year marked the second occasion (2005 was the first) of the VDW, in cooperation with the IGCC, organizing a symposium in India.