Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) saw titans of industry highlight the huge untapped potential for British businesses to tap into the ever growing Indian market. The conference took place at WMG, which recently saw the soft opening of the National Automotive Innovation Centre, a  GBP 150 million facility, the largest single automotive facility in Europe, now renamed as Lord Bhattacharya Building in honour of the Founder and Chairman of WMG. Lord Bhattacharya has made extraordinary contributions to the regeneration of British industry over the last four decades. He was also instrumental in the acquisition of JLR by Tata Motors, in addition to supporting several well known Indian automotive companies in their R & D strategies.

Speaking at the conference Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya stated that Tata Motors and JLR specialists are working together with academics and experts from WMG to develop the cars of the future, and the soon to be opened centre will become an innovation hub, setting a new benchmark for the world.

            Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover stated, “Ten years ago, Ratan Tata had the vision to bring Jaguar Land Rover into the Tata family. Since then, JLR has grown to become a global player in the luxury, premium and performance marketplace, an exemplar of British invention and engineering excellence.

For many years at the helm of Tata Group and now as Chairman Emeritus, Ratan Tata has encouraged group companies like JLR to continuously rethink about how we do business, how we innovate.”

“In automotive, we will see more change in the next 5 years than in the last 50 as autonomous, connected, electrified and shared vehicles, what we at JLR call ‘ACES’ are becoming real. At JLR, we call this future mobility as Destination Zero: zero emissions, zero accidents, zero congestion; and our journey towards Destination Zero has already started. The Jaguar I-Pace, the world’s first premium electric SUV, is the latest step.”

“Collaborations are vital – for no company alone can deliver Destination Zero. This is why JLR, Tata and WMG have together now invested £ 150 million in the largest single automotive technology facility in Europe, now officially named as Lord Bhattacharya building.”

“In skills, India leads the way, producing more qualified engineers than anywhere else in the world. In technology, I think of the Indian graduates who were drawn to Silicon valley in the 1970s and 1980s. They have since been at the forefront of the digital revolution that has defined California – and changed the world for the rest of us.”

 “India is well positioned to respond to the rapid pace of change because it has innovation embedded into the fabric of its society. The opportunity for today and tomorrow is to harness India’s rich expertise and skill in a new mobility ecosystem. Not just to Make IN India, but to Make WITH India and to Make FOR India.

Prime Minister Modi said ‘Make in India’ is a lion’s step.  From the home of the British Jaguar, we encourage and support you in taking this Indian ‘Lion’s step’.”

         Mr. Amo Kalar, Deputy Trade and Investment Commissioner, British High Commission in New Delhi welcomed WMG’s commitment to the India – UK Tech Partnership announced by Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of UK Ms. Theresa May in April, 2018. He observed the scale of opportunities provided by bilateral economic collaboration, such as the 1,10,000 plus jobs by the Indian companies in UK, many bringing in highly skilled professionals. He detailed the recent bilateral tech and wider activity ranging from CHOGM to the ‘Energy For Growth Dialogue’ to the Secretary of State James Brokenshire’s recent Midlands Engine Mission with Andy Street and Sir John Peace. He said that the Tech Partnership was very much alive and kicking, with much more to come. Amo Kalar encouraged businesses to attend the UK-India Future Tech Festival scheduled on December 11-12, 2018 in New Delhi.

Mr. Vinnie Mehta, Director General, Automotive Components Manufacturers Association (ACMA), India stated that Indian Auto-component Industry is poised to become the third largest in the world by 2025, and the automotive sector currently contributes 7 % to India’s GDP and 49 % to the manufacturing GDP.

Mr. Jonathan Browning (Chairman – Coventry and Warwickshire LEP) mentioned that Coventry & Warwickshire is the centre of the UK’s automotive industry, with firms employing over 46,500 people. He observed that this sector saw a growth of 12% over the last two years, and is also a sector that is undergoing monumental shifts and therefore presented a great opportunity for increased business development, technology sharing and trade between both countries. He stated that the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India encourages British businesses to explore, and develop footprints in India.

He added that good trade relationships have developed with India over many years, particularly with the success of Tata and its relationship with Jaguar Land Rover. The UK is seen as an important investor in the Indian market but investors require support, especially around local know how and opportunities, to maximise their chances of success. The Access India Programme has already directly helped several UK businesses who recognise the importance of establishing business relationships in India.

Consul General Aman Puri stated that both the UK and Indian Governments are collaborating to support businesses, and strengthen the two way Trade and Investment relationship between the two countries. He stated that India will become the fourth largest automotive producer globally by 2020 after China, US and Japan. There is enormous potential in India in the sphere of e-vehicles and the mass conversion to EV’s is likely to generate a USD 300 billion domestic market for EV batteries in India by 2030. The Consul General quoted the 7 Cs propounded by Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, while outlaying his vision of future mobility at the first Global Mobility Summit in New Delhi i.e. common, connected, convenient, congestion-free, charged, clean, cutting-edge. PM Modi had stated that, “ India will soon put in place a stable policy regime around electric and other automated vehicles”, and remarked that “clean mobility powered by clean energy is the most powerful weapon in our fight against climate change.”

Ms. Kiran Khatri, Second Secretary (Economic and Public Diplomacy), High Commission of India, London highlighted the success of Access India programme (AIP) as a unique integrated market-entry support programme which is the first of its kind for supporting UK businesses, and is solely focussed on UK SMEs. She stated that AIP is currently supporting 24 SMEs, and High Commission will soon be releasing the list of second cohort of companies who have been accepted as members.

CEO of Tevva Motors, Mr. Richard Lidstone-Scott, shared how the Access India Programme (AIP) supported them whilst doing business in India, and shared how they are currently partnering with Bharat Forge, and looking at increasing their Indian footprint in the future. Similarly, Mr. John Adrian Smith speaking on his company’s behalf stated that the AIP has provided great assistance to Crib Gogh Limited and is now a vital partner in the company’s development.

Dr. Param Shah, Director, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry – UK (FICCI-UK) stated, “The Indian automotive industry has started to experience the effects of this global disruption. Four technology-driven trends—electrification, shared mobility, connectivity and autonomous driving—are leading the automotive industry to this disruption. These trends will shift markets and revenue pools, change mobility behaviour and build new avenues for competition and cooperation.”

The expert panel comprising of Prof Lord Bhattacharya, Prof. Dr. Ralf Speth, Mr. Amo Kalar, Mr. Vinnie Mehta and Ms. Kiran Khatri engaged with the audience, replying to their queries on the prospects of UK-India partnership in Automotive and Advanced Manufacturing sectors.

This conference was jointly hosted by WMG, CWLEP and Consulate of India as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival, supported by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the CWLEP Growth Hub and was attended by representatives from Industry, Government, Academia and Trade bodies.


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