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Combining Australia and India's automotive strength

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Thursday, 19 May 2011


The Australian Government has partnered with an Indian-owned, South Australian-based company — SMR Automotive Australia — to create new Australian jobs, skills and products, through the design and production of world-leading lightweight mirrors for cars.

Opening a new facility at SMR Automotive, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr praised the company for its creativity and highlighted the importance of international collaborations.

“SMR Automotive has received a $2.4 million grant from the Green Car Innovation Fund to set up a pilot plant in Adelaide to adapt leading-edge technology to manufacture the mirrors,” Senator Carr said.

“This is a joint project with the University of South Australia and is a good example of how industry is innovating to create greener products for the low-carbon economy.

“It is also a great example of how international collaborations can strengthen research and development, leading to the production of world-leading products that will transform our industries and the way we live for the better. “

At the event, Senator Carr met SMR CEO Mr Laksh Vaaman Sehgal — who is visiting from India — and spoke about further collaboration with India that would see each country strengthen its automotive and other industries.

“Australia has a strong tradition of international collaboration and India is one of our most important industry and research partners. That is why I am planning to visit India later this year and pursue other research and development opportunities with innovative Indian companies.”

Further highlighting the strong links between Australia and India, on Tuesday this week, Senator Carr announced $5 million in grants under the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) — our largest bilateral research fund, providing $65 million over eight years from 2006-07.

At its new facility, SMR will develop lighter mirrors that will reduce the mass compared with current mirrors, leading to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by vehicles fitted with the new mirrors. The company estimates that if the pilot project

leads to full production, its mirrors will save about 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over five years. SMR employs over 600 people and produces mirrors for locally made cars and exports many more to leading auto companies around the world.

Media contacts: Aban Contractor, Minister's Office, 0457 989 842 Merryn Kennedy, AusIndustry 02 6213 7319/0421 050 108