Bellsonica Auto Component Pvt Ltd., the Maruti-Suzuki joint venture with Bellsonica Corp., is expected to reduce the contribution per vehicle from Maruti’s existing sheet metal suppliers.

The joint venture was created in July last year and is setting up a plant in Manesar, near the new Maruti production plant. Maruti-Suzuki holds 30% of the joint venture and the remainder is held by Bellsonica, one of Suzuki’s traditional suppliers in Japan.

The biggest loser is expected to be Jay Bharat Maruti, Maruti’s traditional supplier of mid-size sheet metal components. Together with Caparo Maruti, Mark Auto (now SKH Metals) and Rasandik Industries, JBML represents the majority of Maruti’s sheet metal requirements. JBML is one of Maruti’s top five vendors in terms of value.

The Indian company Bellsonica is likely to overlap further with JBML’s involvement in the sheet metal component requirements of Maruti, which supplies the same type of components. Sources noted that JBML, which supplies around 90 sheet metal components for the newly launched SX4 saloon, was offered fewer than 20 components by Maruti for the Model P, a small car in development by Suzuki, slated for release in October. 2008. manufactured in Manesar and destined for export to the European market. Maruti is targeting exports of 150,000 units per year of Model P exports, in addition to huge domestic consumption, once it is introduced. The Model P will also have the Nissan badge and will also feature 50,000 units.

Ironically, Bellsonica has been one of the JBML technology providers in the past. BML is not the only likely loser due to the Indian Bellsonica company; Caparo Maruti, Mark Auto and Rasandik Industries are likely to see their average content per vehicle with Maruti decrease in the near future.

In another development, the four sheet metal suppliers were among the ten lowest rated suppliers at a recent Maruti supplier convention.

Not surprisingly, sheet metal suppliers have been working to increase the share of non-Maruti companies in their total revenue. JBML has established a number of companies under the “Neel” umbrella that are responsible for business outside of Maruti. These include a joint venture with Thai Summit. JBML is already supplying Tata Motors, Toyota, Ford, Ashok Leyland, Honda and several two-wheeler companies, as well as Tier 1 suppliers such as Delphi.

Caparo Maruti is also aggressively expanding beyond Maruti. It is already supplying General Motors and Eicher Motors and is also considering expanding to other OEMs.

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