Frugal Innovation in the Automative Industry

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Dr. V. Sumantran Gives an Outstanding Presentation to MISI Students: “Frugal Innovation in the Automative Industry”


Dr. Sumantran is Executive Vice-Chairman of Hinduja Automotive, UK, the auto and manufacturing sector holding company of the Hinduja Group as well as Vice Chairman of Ashok Leyland. He leads the group’s expansion strategy including sectors such as Light Commercial Vehicles, Construction Equipment, IT, Defence, Aerospace and Technologies. He is the Chairman, Ashok Leyland Nissan Ltd, Chairman, Ashok Leyland John Deere Ltd. and Chairman, Ashok Leyland Defence Systems Ltd. He is also Chairman of Defiance Technologies, an IT and Engineering consultancy, and Chairman of Albonair, an emission technology company based in Germany.

Dr. Sumantran serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet of the Indian Government and also served on the Science Advisory Council of the Prime Minister of India. He is a member of the National Manufacturing Competitiveness Council. He is a member of the Global Technology Council of John Deere, USA. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. He is a member of the Governing Council of the India Design Council.

For 2012-13, Dr. Sumantran serves as Chairman, National Defence Council of CII. From 2001 and until end of 2005, he was the chief executive of TATA Motors’ Car business. During this period, he also led the organization through the concept phase of the now famous “Nano” low cost car project. He was a member of the board of TATA Cummins Ltd., a joint venture power-train. Dr. Sumantran was also Chairman of Concorde Motors, an OEM owned automotive dealer network.

He served as President of the Automotive Research Association of India, the country’s leading research and homologation organization for 2004-05. Dr. Sumantran chaired the Engineering Services Forum of NASSCOM, India’s association of software and engineering service organizations during 2005-06. Prior to joining TATAs, Dr. Sumantran had a 16-year career with General Motors in the R&D Centre in Detroit and subsequently served on deputation in Europe as Director, Advanced Engineering, SAAB Automobile AB. During this period he also held the position of “Single Voice” for all R&D and Advanced Engineering undertaken by the GM-FIAT alliance in Europe.

Dr. Sumantran holds MS and Ph.D. degrees in Aerospace Engineering (Princeton University & Virginia Tech) and a Master’s degree in Management of Technology (Renssalaer Polytechnic). He is a Fellow of the Society of Automotive Engineers International and served on the board of SAE International from 2003 until 2006. He also served as Editor, SAE Passenger Car Journal between 1995 and 2000. He is a Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineers and is a recipient of Distinguished Alumnus Award from IIT Madras.