Text: Bhargav TS

Canadian auto component maker Magna International Inc recently kick started its production at 2 new manufacturing facilities located in Sanand, Gujarat. Both plants, which are located within the supplier park of Ford India with one facility supplying complete seat systems, and the other manufacturing body and chassis systems. These 2 new facilities will complement Magna’s other India-based facilities which include a chassis plant in Pune that caters to OEMs such as General Motors India, Volkswagen India, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.

Magna Seating Sanand 1

“We have gone along with our customers and expanded. We are very aggressive to expand in India and we have the capacities that can be optimised as the market grows. Our plans for future are very much dependent on the political atmosphere and OEMs expansion. We are looking at the next phase of growth from India,” said Jim Tobin, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Magna Asia. He further said that with these 2 facilities being operational it is yet another exciting step forward in the growth and development of Magna’s business in India.

After inagurating the facility, Kel Kearns, Director – Manufacturing, Sanand Vehicle Assembly & Engine Plant, Ford India said that, “We honour Make in India and started producting vehicles for India and you all know India is a very good export hub. From India we export vehicles to Mexico, South Africa and Middle East. Very soon we would be shipping the vehicles to European markets too. With this new facility we have quite a good successful launches and outputted 250 vehicles initially per day and the count now increased to 400 vehicles. We always believe in right launch with the right quality and winning time will automatically trail along. With new facility, new people and commendable engineering expertise with global practices at Magna our milestones drag its extremities to a new zone. Our seating thirst for Figo and Aspire is immediately quenched with the help of Magna’s new facility.”

Magna Seating Sanand plant

Tobin commented that, “ We are key suppliers for Ford. Our strength is integrity in every work we do. Expectations from our clients drive us to have infrastructure in many countries and the expansion hands are still wide open. We believe in hard working and continuous and unhindered effort from our team realised our potentials. We give good opportunity to female workers and deploy them in our shopfloors. We have automated the process except for the loading and unloading part. We ensure safety in our working environment with safety devices in place and also imparting training and practice with good culture. We also thank state government for excellent infrastructure and Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) for helping us to get the required approvals quickly. Great time begins for us and we ensure a very good supply chain to Ford with out any impediments.”

Magna Seating Sanand 2

The new seating facility is built at 215,000 sq. ft. and employs approximately 200 people. With an installed capacity of 240,000 complete seat systems per year, the plant assembles and provides just-in-time deliveries for Ford. The capacity can be expanded to 500,000 car seats per year on a 2 shift basis. The plant has 2 lines, one for front seating and another for rear seating. To assemble the entire seating system, Magna gets parts like foam, structure, plastics, hardware and fabrics from vendors located in Sanand.

The 356,000-sq ft body and chassis system facility has 10 line, in which 7 lines are body-in-white (BIW) and 3 for chassis parts. Magna produces 64 products in the facility and all are manufactured in a single piece flow pattern. To cater to the export market the company is also planning to set up one more line for BIW. The plant manufactures components like under body rails, rear twist beam, cross beam and front cross member. The body and chassis system facility is equipped with 80 robots where loading and unloading is only done manually.

Ford Figo seats

The company has given lot of emphasis on automation where Tobin said it is a conscious decision taken by both Magna and Ford. The reason for having higher level of automation in the facility is due to dimensional integrity and process repeatability. And more-over robotics has come down significantly in cost and the speed of robots are much faster and the capabilities are much better.

Globally Magna has 285 manufacturing locations, of which 11 are in India. Being a global strategic components supplier of Ford, Magna supplies components from its 116 plants across the globe to Ford. Tobin predicts that the Indian automobile market is estimated to grow from 4 million units currently to about 12 million units by 2030. “We continue to expand our footprint in sales, engineering, program management and manufacturing, to align with our customers and the increasing vehicle production forecast with respect to the Indian automotive industry.”


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