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Caparo group, Hyundai form venture for luxury buses

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TARGETING NICHE SEGMENT: Deb Mukherji (centre), CEO, Caparo India and Choi Han Young (right), President, Hyundai Commercial Vehicles, South Korea at the signing function of a technical agreement in Chennai on Monday. Sunil Pahilajani, Managing Director, Caparo, looks on.
TARGETING NICHE SEGMENT: Deb Mukherji (centre), CEO, Caparo India and Choi Han Young (right), President, Hyundai Commercial Vehicles, South Korea at the signing function of a technical agreement in Chennai on Monday. Sunil Pahilajani, Managing Director, Caparo, looks on.

Special Correspondent

The plant will have an annual capacity of 1,500 buses

It will be an assembly unit of CKD parts

The engine size ranges from 320 hp to 380 hp

CHENNAI: The Caparo group on Monday signalled its foray into the luxury bus segment by penning a technical pact with Hyundai Motor Company of South Korea to set up an assembly plant in India. Hyundai has already running a largely successful passenger car subsidiary in India.

The luxury bus plant will come up at an yet-to-be-identified location in South India.

The proposed facility will have annual capacity of 1,500 luxury buses. To begin with, it will be an assembly unit of CKD (completely knocked down) parts imported from South Korea.

In an informal chat with presspersons here after the signing of the technical agreement between the two companies, Deb Mukherji, Chief Executive Officer (New Projects), Caparo India, said the luxury bus unit would be a Caparo venture and promoted through an independent company.

Mr. Mukherji declined to reveal the investment details of the project. He merely said, “It would be a few hundred crore rupee project.”

Asked under what badge the luxury buses would be sold, he said it could sport both Caparo and Hyundai badges.

He said the proposed plant would require at least 20 acres, he said.

The CEO said the luxury buses would be for the domestic market and export possibilities could be explored at subsequent stages. Asked about the local content in the luxury bus, he said chassis and the like could be sourced from within the country. Mr. Mukherji said the engine would come from South Korea.

On the size of the engine, he said it could range from 320 hp to 380 hp.

A release from the Caparo group said the plant would go on stream in the last quarter of 2008-09. “The buses will have world-class technology, looks and luxury,” the release quoted Angad Paul, Chairman, Caparo India, as saying. The buses, the release said, would be fitted with powerful and efficient Euro III/IV engines, air-wide suspension and ABS systems. “We are offering a product on a par with global quality standards. We believe our buses will transport people in comfort and style,” Mr. Mukherji said.

While the Caparo official said the location of the project was still to be finalised, agency reports from Seoul suggested that the plant would come up in the vicinity of the Hyundai car facility at Sriperumbudur near here. These reports also said Hyundai would provide Caparo parts and production technology for making Aero buses in India.


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