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BASF is looking to expand operations in India
© picture-alliance/ ZB
BASF wants to strengthen its automotive position in India

May 29, 2008

The German chemical company BASF wants to expand by strengthening its automotive position in India, as announced on May 6, 2008. To do so BASF will build a new engineering plastics compounding plant and computer aided engineering lab in Thane, Maharashtra.

At the same time BASF plans the expansion of coatings facilities in Mangalore and a catalyst plant in Chennai. The new plant in Thane is expected to be on stream in the second half of 2009.

Engineering plastics are not only used in the automotive industry but also in the electrical and electronics fields. The computer aided engineering (CAE) lab will be used by engineers to design and optimize new engineering plastics in close relation to the customers. BASF Coatings built a new Refinish Colour Lab in February 2008, and its new expanded e-coat facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. The catalyst plant in Chennai will triple its capacity by 2009, as announced in August 2007.

The automotive sector is BASF’s second largest source of sales after the chemical industry. The company has made a name for itself by focusing on energy efficiency. At the same time, BASF provides a great variety of products around the world, including but limited to coatings, catalysts, coolants and brake fluids.

Special attention has been paid to energy efficiency and finding solutions to curb emissions. Not only does the company offer a catalyst that has made it possible to convert up to 96 per cent of an automobile’s emissions into harmless products, but BASF is taking it one step further and has began to use weight as a factor to reduce emissions. The weight of an automobile effects both the fuel consumption and the emission rate. Research has found that a reduction of 10% of the automobile’s weight can reduce the fuel consumption by 5 to 7 per cent. The environment can be saved from 25.3kg of CO2 emission over the lifetime of the automobile for every kilogram by which the weight of the automobile is reduced. Therefore BASF has begun to use plastic parts as a measure to reduce the weight of cars, instead of using the regular steel components. These high-tech ensembles are commonly found in cars today, such as dashboards, seats and airbags.

The Asian market is the fastest growing in the worldwide automotive industry. India’s car production has increased by 15 per cent in 2007, which was well above the world average of 8 per cent per year. Many new innovations made in the automotive sectors come from Asian companies and BASF supports that trend. The company came to India in 1943, when it bought shares of R.A- Cole Private Limited. In September 1967 the company was renamed to BASF India Limited, and has become a public limited company. With the new expansion of BASF in India and an increase in investment the company is able to achieve its set goal to strenghten its position in the Indian market.

by Miriam Hertze
© German Information Centre New Delhi
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