BASF has made plans to expand its offerings for the automotive industry in India with investments in plants and technology. The company will build a new engineering plastics compounding plant at its existing site in Thane, which is expected to come on stream by the second half of 2009. As well as being used in the automotive industry, engineering plastics are also employed in the electrical and electronics industries, for example.
BASF has also set up a computer aided engineering (CAE) lab in Thane where its engineers design and optimize new engineering plastic parts in close cooperation with customers. "Advanced CAE technology is a key competence of BASF in the field of engineering plastics," said Hermann Althoff, BASF's group vice president, Asia Pacific engineering plastics. "Offering this service to customers, combined with local supply from the new plant, is a major milestone in growing our engineering plastics business in India."
In addition, BASF Coatings commissioned a new Refinish Color Lab at Mangalore in February 2008, and is expanding its e-coat facility, which is expected to be completed by end of 2008. Also underway is the expansion of BASF's catalyst plant in Chennai. The plant will triple its capacity by 2009, as announced in August 2007.
"Automotive is one of BASF's most important target industry segments and our second-largest source of sales after the chemical industry," said Dr. Wolfgang Hapke, president market and business development Asia Pacific. "In 2007, BASF derived over 13% of its total global sales of €58 billion from sales to the automotive industry."
A special focus for BASF is energy efficiency and solutions to curb emissions. Today the company offers a catalyst that makes it possible for the first time to convert up to 96% of a vehicle´s emissions into harmless end products, according to the company.
Catalysts are not the only way of cutting emissions: The vehicle's weight is another crucial factor. Reducing a vehicle's weight by ten percent translates into five to seven percent less fuel consumption, and BASF's fuel additives can cut consumption by a further two percent. In fact, for every kilogram by which the weight of a car is reduced, the environment is spared 25.3 kilograms of CO2 emissions over the entire service life of the car. Using plastics in automobile construction therefore also makes sense from an environmental point of view because they are much lighter than steel components, the company said. BASF provides many of the complex high-tech ensembles of plastic solutions that are commonly found in cars today—from dashboards and seats to airbags and temperature-resistant plastics that function right next to the engine block.
"Production figures show that Asia is the fastest growing region in the global automotive industry, with car production increasing by eight percent last year; in India it has been growing at an average of 15% per year over the last few years. Innovations in the automotive industry are increasingly being driven by Asian companies, and BASF supports this trend," said Prasad Chandran, chairman BASF Group in India and head South Asia.