Text:  Bhargav TS

Rane TRW Steering Systems (RTSS), the 50:50 joint venture between the Rane Group and ZF TRW, has inaugurated its new airbag manufacturing plant near Chennai. The new facility built at an investment of Rs 18 crore, spread across 1,800 square metres to assemble driver and passenger airbag modules. The plant will have an installed capacity to produce around 500,000 airbags, which will gradually be scaled up to a million airbags in the next 2 years. As per the government’s mandatory norms, from October 2017 onwards every new passenger car model launched in the country will have to be equipped with driver and passenger airbags.


“Personally I believe that the adoption rate will be even faster and by next year the airbag penetration will increase significantly. Currently, only about 30% of the cars sold in India have airbags. It is estimated that after October 2017, nearly 50% of cars sold in India will have airbags and the number will touch 100% by 2020,” says Harish Lakshman, Managing Director, RTSS.

“With the government promoting occupant safety and road safety to significantly reduce fatalities, we expect the auto industry in the country to introduce passive safety technologies to meet these regulations. We anticipate exponential growth in the application of frontal airbags over the next decade and Rane TRW will be well positioned to support both global and domestic OEMs located in India to bring in these technologies to their vehicles,” adds Lakshman.


Rane TRW claims that it is currently working to localise airbag components in order to make it more competitive in the cost-conscious Indian market. It will be localising some components except the inflator and some other components which are manufactured by TRW globally. “Currently the facility will be assembling the airbags and going forward in a span of 3 years the localisation level could go up to 20%. But we will continue to import the inflator from our ZF TRW facility located globally. The reason for not manufacturing the inflator here in India is, we don’t have good volume as we have to see commercial part of it. To manufacture it we need to have high degree of automation to ensure the quality of the product is on a right way,” said Alexander Heilig, Director of Steering Wheel Systems & Driver Airbag, ZF TRW.

The company has also added Renault into its client list as Rane TRW has bagged new orders from Renault India to supply air bags to its small car Kwid. Without disclosing the number, Lakshman said that “We have won the orders from Renault India to supply driver airbags to its upcoming small car Kwid.” The company has been supplying seat belts to the French car maker and for the first time it has bagged the airbag order from Renault India.

The Occupant Safety Division of RTSS manufactures seatbelt and airbags, catering to key customers including Ford India, Renault, Nissan, Mahindra & Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, and Daimler India Commercial Vehicles. The new airbag facility is located adjacent to its seatbelt plant, which began operations in 1997. Apart from catering to the domestic market Rane TRW exports nearly 15% of its seatbelt volumes to Brazil, Colombia, Vietnam and Thailand. ACI


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