Ural India Ltd, the Indian arm of Russian vehicles manufacturer UralAZ JSC, is banking on big orders from the Indian Army, once its assembly line at Haldia in West Bengal gets going. The company, set up last year, expects the assembly line to be ready by the end of the current fiscal.
For the project, Ural India has entered into a joint venture with its parent as well as West Bengal Industrial Development Corp (WBIDC). The plant will roll out trucks, and employ around 500 people.
Speaking to FE, Ural India chairman JK Saraff said that once the assembly line is in place, it will promote many auto ancillary units in the region, home to India’s first automobiles company and related ancillaries.
“We will be outsourcing at least 100 auto items, to begin with, and currently, many small units from Howrah are approaching us to supply equipment like castings, forgings, fasteners, rubberised auto parts etc.,” Mr Saraff said.
Mr Saraff claimed that once Ural begins manufacturing activity, it will be a revival of sorts for Howrah which once prided itself as the ‘engineering hub’ of the east.
Ural India has already acquired 200 acres from the West Bengal government at its plant where site development work is currently in progress. Mr Saraff added that another 300 acres is expected anytime from the government.
Ural will be making high-mobility vehicles at Haldia and the total project cost has been estimated at Rs 500 crore. UralAZ and Ural India will own 44.5% each in the project while the remaining 11% will be held by WBIDC.
The company claims that the heavy duty trucks from its stable will be significantly cheaper than the ones available now, especially the ones made by Swedish truck maker Volvo in India. “Our competition in the Indian market will be only with Volvo,” Mr Saraff said. Ural India feels that the Indian Army might emerge as a major buyer of the Ural trucks. “The Indian Army has been using Ural trucks for more than three decades now which it imports directly from Russia. They have been encouraging us a lot for making the same trucks in India,” Mr Saraff said. According to him, the Indian Army requires about 15,000 vehicles a year, of which a sizeable portion is trucks. Internationally, Ural specialises in making trucks suited for military use and the Indian Army finds them indispensible in snow and deserts due to its sturdy design and user-friendly features,” Mr Saraff said.
Ural India claims that apart from taking care of Indian Defence’ haulage needs, the trucks will be suited for mining, road construction and public transport also.