These strengths include favourable demographics, with a median age of 24, and a booming consumer base. Both factors are expected to drive the economy in the future.
It's time to look for opportunities and do some out-of-the-box thinking, he told attendees at the APMA-AUTO21 conference. And this is why many companies are looking to India. Urban India is surging as an economy and rural India is emerging, with 70 per cent of the country's population. The country offers a stable environment that is sustainable over long periods of time, he added.
Though impacted by the current economic situation, India is in a better position than most countries, Kapuria said, making it a good environment for automotive growth. It's expected to be the world's seventh largest auto market by 2016 and the third by 2030. It has become the hub for the compact car as more automakers come to India.
OEMs are continually choosing India as a manufacturing hub, he explained. Automakers are expanding there and many component players are investing, including Magna and Delphi. In addition, India is emerging as a preferred R&D base, with almost all major players setting up R&D centres there, including Hyundai, Fiat, VW, GM, Magna, Mercedes and Suzuki.
The benefits the country offers, he said, include product development capability, skilled manpower, growing domestic demand, high-quality standards and proximity to markets.
Joint ventures in India are very common. Kapuria encouraged attendees to establish partners in India if they have "the hunger and desire to move things forward." The onus is on the leadership of companies to take a close look at the opportunities and determine whether it's appropriate for them.
If the commitment is there, the venture can't fail, he said. "Explore India [and] make up your mind for yourself."
Joseph Caron, High Commissioner to the Republic of India with the Government of Canada, also encouraged manufacturers to invest in innovation in India. Companies are assessing how India can serve their corporate objectives, he said. They have to weigh their options, and remember that diversification of markets is key.
For more information, visit AUTO21 at www.auto21.ca or the APMA at www.apma.ca.