Maxion Wheels breaks ground for its first aluminum wheel plant in India
Growing demand from its OEM customers has led Maxion Wheels, the leading manufacturer of steel and aluminum wheels, to build an aluminum wheel plant in India. Maxion Wheels Aluminum India Pvt. Ltd. ninth aluminum plant globally, to be built in Khed, near Pune, will have an annual capacity of 4 million wheels. In the first phase, Maxion Wheels will invest over $50 million to produce 2 million wheels. Production is expected in Q3, 2019.
Kalyani Maxion Wheels Ltd, Maxion Wheels ‘Indian arm, has 2 steel wheel plants in Pune, in which, the Kalyani Group has a 15% stake. The car steel wheel plant produces 4 million wheels annually, while the truck steel wheel plant makes 1.2 million units a year. Having the local market as the primary focus, the company also exports its steel wheels products to Thailand, Indonesia, Europe, the US and Mexico.
Maxion Wheels’ Chief Executive Officer, Pieter Klinkers said, “We responded to our growing global customers’ requests, and made the investment to join them in the world’s fastest-growing economy.
Maxion Wheels will produce low pressure die-cast aluminum wheels with a high-end wheel finish. Though low pressure die casting has a slightly higher production cost, against gravity casting, it is the most common process approved for aluminum wheels sold to the OEM. The process offers reduction of machining costs, excellent control of process parameters, good metallurgical quality and leads to an optimal use of the aluminum.
Though India, according to the company, is having a slow penetration of aluminum wheels compared to developed markets, the company expects a better momentum for aluminum wheels in near future.”
Currently, the aluminum wheels cover only 20% in the light vehicle segment, while the rest is dominated by steel wheels. By 2020, we expect the share of aluminum wheels to increase to 50%,” Sutheep Ratnabhas, Managing Director, Vice President-Asia Operations at Maxion Wheels (Thailand) Co., Ltd. said.
The new aluminum wheel plant, spread over 25,000 sqm, will be equipped with premium bright machined wheels from the start, 32 low-pressure die casting machines, heat treatment, x-ray, and 16 machining cells. It will also have one paint shop with capacity for 2 million wheels; powder coat followed by wet paint base coat and clear coat. It will have capacity to produce wheel sizes of 14” to 22” and 4” to 9” in width. According to the company, the new plant will generate 1000 direct and indirect jobs.
Though steel wheels and aluminum wheels offer the same performance, distinguished style offered by aluminum wheels is pushing OEMs to get aluminum wheels fitted on their cars. “One of the ways to distinguish a car is wheels. In the current market dynamics, we are seeing that our customers are looking for aluminum wheels to distinguish their vehicles,” Ratnabhas said.
Wide range of aluminum wheels manufactured by Maxion Wheels