BANGALORE, India-The Bosch Group has opened a plant in Bangalore to build common-rail, high-pressure pumps for diesel engines, part of what the company is describing as a comprehensive, long-term expansion into India.

The new plant, which cost approximately $125 million, is capable of producing up to 1,000 pumps per day. In all, Bosch, which has been manufacturing injector components for diesel systems at a plant in Nashik, India, since late 2005, plans to invest up to $408 million in the country by 2008.

"Modern diesel engines are clean and economical. They will also gain strong popularity in India," says Bosch board member Bernd Bohr. "We are well equipped to be able to accompany this growth."

According to Bohr, in 2005, Bosch sold some 40,000 common-rail systems in India. In 2010, this figure is expected to be as high as 600,000 systems. "Nearly every automaker in India has now announced that it will be launching diesel cars with common-rail technology," Bohr says.

With some 1.3 million cars manufactured in 2005, India is already Asia's fourth largest automobile market. Vehicle sales have been rising by about 20 percent per year since 2002. "Given this growth, India could be one of the world's five most important automobile markets by the beginning of the next decade," says Bohr.