With The Indian passenger car market shifting rapidly to aluminum wheels, Maxion Wheels, the world’s largest wheel manufacturer, is looking to set up an aluminum passenger car wheel plant in India.
With The Indian passenger car market shifting rapidly to aluminum wheels, Maxion Wheels, the world’s largest wheel manufacturer, is looking to set up an aluminum passenger car wheel plant in India. Maxion Wheels CEO Pieter Klinkers said India is moving to aluminum at a pace faster than Europe, but there is not enough capacity here. “Five years ago, it used to be zero and it is catching up, and it will get close to the global average where the share of aluminum is at 65%,” he said. Europe took 10 years to shift from steel to aluminum wheels, he added. This growth driver in India is coming from the demand for styling cars in the Indian market as car models and their styling are changing faster here, he added. In commercial vehicles too, there is demand for aluminum wheels but it is driven out of the need of having lightweight vehicles and meeting fuel efficiency norms, Klinkers said. This segment of the auto component industry is immune to changes taking place in the market, especially vehicle electrification.
“Whether the vehicle is electric or uses internal combustion engines, they all need wheels, which is why we are expanding in India,” Klinkers said. Wheels are set to get smarter with a lot of sensors and data being collected which will get reflected on the dashboard, Klinkers said. Wheelmakers are also exploring different materials such as carbon fibre which is currently available in super luxury cars.
Many of their global customers have set up shop in India which works to Maxion’s advantage. The wheelmaker has an 85:15 joint venture with the Kalyani Group for making four million steel wheels for passenger cars and 1.4 million for commercial vehicles. But for the aluminum cars wheel venture in India, Maxion will be going on its own, Klinkers said.