State of the Economy 2018

On Auto Pilot

Faridabad displays a positive growth sentiment having overcome the demonetisation and GST hump

Photographs by Vishal Koul

Saket Bhatia can’t hide his contentment. Sitting in one of Bony Polymer’s seven auto components factories in Faridabad, he talks about how good the last year was for the automotive sector. “Anybody associated with major auto OEMs should have clocked a 15-20% growth over the past one year,” says Bhatia, director at Bony Polymers. Bhatia is coy about revealing his own group’s turnover but industry sources estimate it to be around Rs.1,000 crore. 

Faridabad has a fair number of automotive suppliers. 2017 has been a great year, which obviously translates to tidy business for ancillary units as well. Bony Polymers makes plastic and rubber components, hoses, and metal components for OEMs. Starting in Faridabad in 1981, the company today has 12 plants across Manesar, Lucknow and Gujarat.

Some 20 km away from Faridabad where Bhatia sits, JCB has a large plant in Ballabhgarh. The construction equipment giant has been present in this cluster for almost 40 years. JCB, along with Escorts, happens to be the oldest and largest industrial unit in this area. The management is happy too and Vipin Sondhi, CEO, JCB India, is thankful that good times are back. 

The Indian construction equipment industry has revived after a four-year downturn, primarily driven by the roads and highways sector. “2017 was a positive year for us as we crossed our previous best high of 2011,” says Sondhi with some cheer. In 2011, the company had sold a record 27,000 units. GST could have spoiled JCB’s party but luckily, it did not turn out that way when the government decided to slash the GST rate from the initial 28% to 18% in November 2017, after representation from the industry. The lowering of the GST rate came as a relief to JCB. 

Positive nudge
While excavatorswere back on the road after a pause, two-wheelers, too, managed to survive the GST disruption. At Yamaha’s factory on Mathura Road in Faridabad, where women workers are busy assemb

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