At an investment of US$ 30 million, Valvoline Cummins has set up a facility near Mumbai to cater to the Indian market as well as the export markets
Valvoline Cummins Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between Ashland Inc. and Cummins that was formed in 1998, has announced the opening of its new manufacturing and packaging plant at Ambernath near Mumbai. The plant will produce Valvoline brand of automotive lubricants for the consumer, industrial and heavy-duty markets. Spread on 10 acres, the plant, built with an investment of US$ 30 million, is Valvoline Cummins’ first and only facility in India.
Mr Sam Mitchell, President, Ashland Consumer Markets: “Valvoline is growing into a strong global brand”.
Mr Sandeep Kalia, CEO, Valvoline Cummins India: “We are looking at greater participation in the two wheeler and industrial oils market”.
Expected to cater to the export markets in addition to serving the domestic market where the company is looking at greater participation in the two wheeler and industrial oils market, the plant, according to Sandeep Kalia, CEO, Valvoline Cummins India, would further strengthen Valvoline Cummins strong position in the diesel engine oils (read commercial vehicles) and off-highway equipment engine oils. Valvoline, claimed Mr Kalia while speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of the plant, is the fastest growing lubricant brand in India. He added, “We started with 4.3 million litres in 1998, and grew to 77 million litres in 2012. We are the 3rd largest foreign brand in India”.
tressing upon Valvoline growing into a strong global brand, Sam Mitchell, President of Ashland Consumer Markets, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc. and the producer of Valvoline branded products, averred that apart from India, the Valvoline Cummins joint ventures are operational in China, Brazil and Argentina. It is however the Indian joint venture, which has been the cornerstone of the relationship, he added. “Valvoline Cummins India is the biggest and most profitable business as far as Valvoline’s International business goes”.
Interestingly, the joint venture between Valvoline and Cummins started as a global marketing relationship that would conduct product testing, joint R&D projects on an international scale, and joint engine testing and development as well as evaluation of new technology. The plant at Ambernath, apart from boosting the company’s capabilities as far as catering to the changing market dynamics in the region are concerned, is also expected to enhance the company’s ability to deliver fast, localized technical services to customers in India, South Asia and other nearby countries.
While the initial production capacity of the plant would be 120 million litres per year, the future capacity would be scaled to 150 million litres. Current blend lines at the plant include simultaneous measuring and blending as well as automated batch blending and oil products produced include engine, gear, hydraulic, industrial and transmission.
Committed to invest in infrastructure and people, Valvoline Cummins, Valvoline Lube Station, a new Valvoline lubricant training center at the Cummins Sales and Service Tech Center in Pune. Cummins engineers and technicians receive on-site training including all aspects of engine lubrication and maintenance. Participants learn why and how Valvoline Premium Blue diesel oil is approved, recommended and endorsed by Cummins for commercial fleet vehicles; and learn hands on with an exhibit hall, models of lubricated engines and interactive information kiosks. Such has been the relation between the two joint venture partners that Cummins played an important role in the development of CR4 oil blend in India, recently.
According to Valvoline Cummins sources, Cummins also conducted crucial field trails for this blend. With the plant at Ambernath operational, and in a small time after the Valvoline Lubricant Training Center was set up in Pune, Mr Kalia is of the opinion that it would enable the company to provide its clients with additional innovative solutions and products to improve business results. On cards in the future, therefore, could be some innovative projects coming the way of the Indian business operations.
The China Jv indulges into contract manufacturing according to Mr Mitchell. A similar business model could also come the way of the Indian operations in the future. What is clear is that Valvoline Cummins are keen for a larger pie of the lube market in India. They are also aware of the unique market dynamics in India, and are gearing up to meet the challenges in that direction.
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