“Being global means paying attention to the world, not relocating.” With these words, Enrico Carraro outlines the company's outlook when it comes to the expansion of the Carraro Group. A point of view that differs from the norm, and which sees the internationalisation of the Group's companies as an opportunity to study and to adapt to foreign markets. Our foreign presence is global, but India and China are the countries that we have focused on most, find out how.
Chindia, the horizon of our global expansion
1997 was year zero for the internationalisation of Carraro, and saw the inauguration of the Group's first plant in India. The adventure began thanks to Carraro's early contact with the Nanda family, one of the key players in the Indian economy, associated with the Escorts industrial group. In 1997, a trade agreement was ratified, with the goal of creating production facilities in the country, and Carraro India Ltd was born.
The project was completed in just a year, and Pune became the first city in India to be home to a Carraro factory. Production was launched in 1999, and the plant's immediate focus was on making axles and transmissions for agricultural applications, both to be exported and to be sold to local manufacturers. The ability of Carraro to satisfy market demands and the Group's expansion into the Indian sub-continent led to the opening of a second plant, dedicated to manufacturing gears and components.
In 2005, Turbo Gears Ltd was established, and soon revealed its remarkable potential. The Indian market continued to grow, calling for further development. Accordingly, in 2006, we purchased the entire share capital of Carraro India, in order to provide guaranteed growth opportunities to future companies. In the same year, a local research and development centre was opened, proving fundamental in the study and adaptation of production to local requirements, above all with regard to design.
Subsequently, Pune also became the central headquarters for Carraro Technologies India, the branch of the Group focused on the design and development of innovative transmissions and spindles. Initially, the branch employed ten engineers; however, it soon turned into one of the most productive plants in India, with 48 engineers of both sexes.
By 2012, the company was employing more than 1,300 people in the country, with India only just behind Italy in terms of human resources. In the 15 years since the first plant was opened, we have witnessed great change and continuous growth, not only in terms of Carraro's production, but also with regard to the Indian market, which is increasingly less "emerging". India is no longer just the leading producer of tractors in the word, it is a country undergoing rapid urbanisation. Our innovative spirit drives us to explore new opportunities in India, making inroads into the construction and earth moving equipment sectors.
China, the market of the future
Carraro's conquest of the Chinese market came shortly after the Group's successful experience in India, in 2000, during a period characterised by a surge in urbanisation of the country. This phase in the process of internationalisation for Group companies was launched in order to meet the needs associated with rapid urban growth, and was focused on two distinct sectors: earth moving machines, and those for construction applications.
This led to our strategic decision to manufacture in the country, and consequently, Carraro China was opened in Qingdao (Huangdao) in 2004. The Chinese facility spans around 10,000 square metres, and initially specialised in transmissions for escalators. Subsequently, production was expanded to incorporate hydraulic systems for crawlers, transmission systems for construction and agricultural machinery, and propulsion systems for moving materials.
The presence of the Group within a market undergoing rapid growth - and offering a host of immense opportunities - enabled us to open a further manufacturing facility. Between 2006 and 2007, Carraro's most modern plant was built in Qingdao (Chengyang), and opened in record time in October 2007, occupying an amazing 23 thousand square metres.
Today, the Carraro China facility specialises in the production of drives for excavators and escalators, fork lift trucks and axles for construction equipment and agricultural tractors. The plant employs more than 200 people, a third of whom perform a manual or technical role.
China represents a promising market, characterised by high-level industrial groups. Indeed, it is one of the most promising in the world for mechanical engineering, a challenge that remains to be explored for us.
Internationalisation of companies: an ongoing challenge which began in the Seventies
The Group's first business relations outside Italy date back to the Seventies, with Renault in France and Ford in the United States. Working with foreign partners has enabled us to broaden our approach in such a short time, leading to the opening of the Carraro's first foreign plant in India in 1997. We successfully identified the great potential offered by the country's emerging economy, which quickly became an important base for our manufacturing activities. In 2000, meanwhile, we arrived in China.
Today,Carraro has similarly well-established industrial facilities on every continent, with more than half the workforce based outside Italy. "When we began this process of expansion," – recalls Enrico Carraro – "we moved in line with the requirements of the various markets." We worked alongside local customers, and above all, we understood from the outset that each geographical area is different from the next, and has its own specific needs.
This local approach allowed us to provide a rapid response to each market, meeting the requirements of every country. However, India and China are the two most important arenas in which we must compete at global level, a challenge that we have accepted with enthusiasm.
India represents a starting point for us, including from a social commitment perspective. Indeed, for a number of years we have been actively supporting Care & Share, the association which helps Indian street children. Discover the story.