Since several decades, Indian students shunned the career in automobile engineering. Fairly so, as the country’s automobile industry was stunted while vehicle ownership was limited and restricted to the wealthy.
However, this scenario has drastically changed over the last 20 years, thanks to the entry of several reputed automobile companies from countries including Japan, Korea, US, Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic, among others.
Forced by foreign competitors, Indian automobile manufacturers have also stepped up vehicle production and now make models that meet international standards. Hence, a career in automobile engineering promises to be very lucrative.
Facts & Figures
Before you embark on or dismiss a career in automobile engineering, here are some facts and figures to help you decide:
According to Paris-based International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA), India now ranks as the world’s fourth-largest automobile producing country. In 2016, the country made 4.48 million passenger and non-passenger vehicles, marking a growth of 7.9 percent over 2015.
A study on India’s automobile ownership trends and future released by Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates passenger car ownership in this country is expected to rise by whopping 775 percent till 2040. “All passenger vehicle ownership has nearly tripled in just the last decade. The study adds that the number of vehicles will grow from the current 20 per 1,000 inhabitants to 175,” the report says.
It further adds: “In the new policies (since 2015) scenario, passenger car ownership grows from less than 20 vehicles per 1,000 inhabitants today to 175 cars per 1,000 people in 2040, and overall road passenger vehicle activity increases more than six times.” The report also speaks of India as emerging market for Electric Vehicles (EVs) that are considered environment-friendly.
The ICE360° survey conducted by People Research on India’s Consumer Economy (PRICE) conducted in 2016 reveals, one in every three households in the country own a two-wheeler. It states that the 2011 national census recorded only five percent of Indians owned a vehicle. “That proportion has more than doubled and stands at 11 percent today as per the ICE 360° survey 2016. The proportion of two-wheeler owners has increased 15 percentage points to 36 percent, while the proportion of bicycle owners has increased 13 percentage points since 2011 to 58 percent, the survey shows.
Indian government’s public data portal states: “The total number of registered motor vehicles in India was 210,023,289 (over 2.10 billion) as on March 31, 2015. There were seven states having more than 10,000,000 (10 million) registered motor vehicles – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh as on March 31, 2015.
What statistics imply?
The above statistics compiled by international, the Indian government and non-profit agencies amply reveal, the automobile industry in India will grow at dizzying pace in coming years.
This translates into a high demand for skilled workers for the sector, meaning a great scope for a career in automobile engineering. Therefore, let us take a comprehensive look at automobile engineering.
Automobile Engineering Explained
Unfortunately, a great deal of ambiguity exists over automobile engineering course.
Mostly, private engineering colleges and institutes offer a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech) courses or Diploma in automobile engineering.
Here are some facts you can consider before embarking on a career as ‘Automobile Engineer’ in India’s booming vehicle manufacture and service sectors:
- The term ‘Automobile Engineer’ is a loosely worded job description, accorded to engineers from various engineering streams who work in the vehicle manufacturing sector.
- Topmost automobile engineering colleges in India DO NOT offer any courses called ‘Automobile Engineering’. Such premier engineering institutes include: all campuses of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai-based Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute and Sardar Patel College of Engineering (SPCE), Pune-based Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) Pilani, Hyderabad and Goa, all campuses of National Institute of Technology (NIT), and other state and government-owned renowned engineering colleges.
- You can become an automobile engineer by graduating in mechanical, electronic, electrical, petroleum, software, metallurgical and aerospace engineering from any well reputed and especially government-run institute, including those listed above.
- IIT, BITS, MIT, NIT and other topmost colleges offer mechanical, electronic, electrical, petroleum, software, metallurgical and aerospace engineering that can help you launch a career as an automobile engineer.
- In stark contrast, several reputed American universities and colleges offer a specialized branch of study called ‘Automotive Engineering.’ This is because the USA has one of the most advanced automobile industries of the world and a high density of passenger and non-passenger vehicles. Some 800 of every 1,000 households in the US owns at least one car. You can study ‘Automotive Engineering’ at any reputed American university. Courses offered by US universities are extremely specialized.
You should hold a B-Tech degree from any of these reputed state-run engineering institutes, top foreign and Indian vehicle makers will offer you a great employment opportunity. However, you will require some additional skills. These include:
- High level of technical knowledge in your field.
- Creativity and artistic skills to design vehicles.
- A keen sense of precision.
- Awareness about pollution and environment safety.
- Excellent knowledge of passenger and vehicle safety.
- Strong analytical skills.
- Proficiency in mathematics.
- A passion for vehicles.
Becoming Automobile Engineer
As we explained earlier, you can become an automobile engineer provided you hold a B.Tech or M.Tech in mechanical, electronic, electrical, petroleum, software, metallurgical and aerospace engineering or, graduate in Automotive Engineering from an American or other top foreign institutes.
- Admission criterion to these engineering courses is common for all reputed India colleges. You will have to pass the IIT Joint Entrance Exam (IIT-JEE) to qualify for studies in this premier institute.
- For admissions to other tops, government-run engineering colleges, you will have to pass the Combined Entrance Exam or any other pre-qualification tests they stipulate.
- BITS Pilani, Hyderabad and Goa conduct the BIT Special Aptitude Test (BITSAT) for students wishing to join the institute.
- Exams for M.Tech courses in these engineering streams include Graduate Aptitude Test for Engineering (GATE) and BITS Higher Degree, among others. Engineering colleges in India specify entrance tests for admissions to M.Tech courses.
- American colleges and universities have their own criterion for granting admission to Indian students. These vary according to the educational institute where you wish to study Automotive Engineering. However, passing Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). Other tests include Graduate Record Examination (GRE), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and any others required by the university.
Automobile Engineering Jobs
Once you graduate as mechanical, electronic, electrical, petroleum, software, metallurgical or aerospace engineer or acquire an Automotive Engineering degree from abroad, any automobile manufacturer in India will be eager to offer you a job.
Generally, an automobile engineer’s job profile depends upon the field of specialization. However, the broad job profile includes:
- Designing newer models of passenger and non-passenger vehicle. Creating visual images of new images, their features, and components. This is done with the help of Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems.
- Researching into latest types of automobile engines available in the domestic and foreign markets.
- Designing prototypes of vehicle engines and their components for better performance and fuel economy.
- Selecting the most appropriate metals, alloys and synthetic material for automobile parts.
- Analyzing fuel-efficient vehicle engines and designing others for enhanced performance.
- Developing newer and efficient methods for testing automobile components.
- Creating software and hardware for automobiles for purposes including driver and passenger safety, fuel economy and ease of driving.
- Preparing detailed cost and estimate sheets for every new automobile your employer intends to launch or is proposed by the design team.
- Studying all-around environmental impact of a new or proposed vehicle, including potential pollution caused by its manufacture, user, and disposal of scrap.
- Conducting computer aided or physical tests of components.
- Designing chassis of the vehicle, keeping aesthetics, aerodynamics, cost efficiency in mind.
- Supervising a specified stage of the automobile manufacturer, based on your academic specialization.
- Investigating mechanical, electrical failures of new, proposed or existing vehicles.
- Keeping tabs on automobiles offered by competitors, their pros, and cons while finding ways and means of designing better ones.
- Liaison with service centers, suppliers, distributors to keep abreast with market trends and common problems encountered by users of your company’s vehicles.
- Advising after-sales and maintenance crew on best practices to ensure high performance and customer satisfaction.
- Preparing schedules for the launch of new vehicles, training staff for their maintenance.
- Assisting sales and marketing teams to develop catchy and trendy advertising campaigns that highlight salient features of a new automobile.
- Developing work charts and systems for improving the overall profitability of your company.
- Test driving new vehicles if required. Testing automobiles through computer simulation and unmanned crash tests for passenger safety.
Automobile Engineer Salaries
Independent yet highly reputed portal, Payscale India says: “An Automotive Engineer earns an average salary of Rs 511,685 per year. Most people with this job move on to other positions after 10 years in this career. Experience strongly influences income for this job. A skill in Product Development is associated with high pay for this job.” The portal pegs the annual median salary for an automobile engineer in India at Rs.529,229.
Additionally, Payscale India’s data indicates, automobile engineering salary in cities such as Bangalore and Chennai are showing an upward swing of 15 percent and 13 percent respectively per annum.
Business for Automobile Engineers
Thanks to Make In India initiative launched by the Indian government and stimulus given to entrepreneurs for start-up businesses, engineers from various fields can also enter a business that involves automobile engineering. Some such businesses include:
- Producing Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) spare parts for automobile companies.
- Providing after-sales service and maintenance for with license from automobile manufacturer for their various models of vehicles.
- Maintenance of fleet of passenger and non-passenger vehicles for tourist and freight companies.
On a smaller scale and with low investment, you can open:
- Garage for maintenance and repair of cars, scooters and small commercial vehicles.
- Business in pre-owned, refurbished cars.
- Import of spares for foreign cars plying in India
- Consultancy services for prospective investors in freight, logistics and passenger carriage business.
Small business with low investment is generally suited for students who complete the Diploma in Automobile Engineering, offered by several private colleges in India. As we explained earlier, an automobile company hires engineers from different streams. This is mainly because any passenger or commercial vehicle consists of various components that require specific specializations and rigorous training in labs as well as practical experience. Only a few reputed government-owned engineering institutes can offer such facilities.
Diploma in Automobile Engineering
The mainstay of private engineering colleges and universities, the Diploma in Automobile Engineering is a two-year course. In recent years, some educational institutes are also offering the course online and through Distance Education programs. These include Lovely Professional University, Integral University, and Amity University, among others.
A Diploma course in automobile engineering is very specific. The syllabus consists of various elements from various mainstream engineering courses that pertain to the automobile industry.
Before you enroll for any Diploma course in automobile engineering from a private educational institute, it is highly recommended you study the employment market. This will give you an idea about the demand for Diploma holders and your own employability.
Remember, engineering courses, regardless whether they are Diploma, B.Tech or M.Tech, are rather pricey. Often, students avail education loans from banks and financial institutions to enroll for one. Unfortunately, many graduates are unable to find well-paid jobs due to lack of required skills, they should have learned while studying.
Former Vice President of India, Dr. Abdul Hamid Ansari, in a speech, had said: “Almost 59 percent of students in higher education are enrolled in private institutions. While some of these maintain high standards, a majority are lucrative degree-granting portals where infrastructure is not adequate and admission procedure is not transparent.” The former Vice President had pointed out that over three million students were encumbered with education loans totaling to whopping Rs. 70 billion by 2014. Over the last few years, this figure has increased.
Automobile Engineering Books
Regardless of which stream of engineering you wish to study, if you wish to make a career as automobile engineer, there are several books that can serve you for reference and guides. A lot of these books are available only from reputed e-retailers such as Amazon and Flipkart. Additionally, you can download scores of books on this subject free from various websites.
However, it is worth remembering, these books can only serve as guides or as reference material if you are considering a career in automobile engineering. Generally, syllabus of top engineering colleges do contain components of study, relevant to the automobile industry
Automobile Engineering Colleges
Once again, we emphasize, there are no ‘Automobile Engineering” courses offered by topmost technical institutes of India. However, you can specialize in mechanical, electronic, electrical, petroleum, software, metallurgical or aerospace studies at any topnotch engineering college. The topmost such institutes are understandable:
- IIT (All campuses).
- Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), Pune, Maharashtra.
- National Institute of Technology, (All campuses).
- Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Mumbai.
- Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Mumbai.
- Visveswarya College of Engineering, Bangalore.
- Madras University of Technology, Chennai.
- College of Engineering, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram)
- Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi.
- Government College of Engineering, Kannur, Kerala
Please note, these rank among the topmost engineering colleges. This list is not a comprehensive database of government-owned and operated engineering institutes of India. It is worth remembering, there is a vast difference between governments owned and operated engineering institute and those that are ‘government accredited’ or ‘government authorized’.
Nowadays, top employers in the automotive sector also look for engineering graduates from reputed institutes who hold additional qualifications. One such a qualification is Master in Business Administration, commonly called MBA.
Several reputed engineering institutes in India, including IIT, MIT Pune, and government-owned universities offer MBA courses that specialize in various industrial sectors. You too can obtain an MBA that is best suited for the burgeoning automobile industry of India.
Should you consider a career in automobile engineering, there is no dearth of jobs in India. According to Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the country emerged as the world’s third-largest market for automobiles during the calendar year 2016. India is expected to move upwards in this ranking.
Some of the topmost companies which will employ you as automobile engineer include:
- Maruti Udyog/ Maruti Suzuki.
- Royal Enfield Cycle Co.
- The Escorts Group.
- Captain Tractors Pvt. Ltd.
- Force Motors.
- Eicher Motors Ltd.
- Ashok Leyland.
- TVS Motor Co.
- Bajaj Auto.
- Hero MotoCorp Ltd.
- Hyundai Motor India Ltd.
- Tata Motors Ltd.
- Mahindra & Mahindra.
- Isuzu Motors.
- Kia Motors.
- Harley Davidson India.
- India Yamaha Motors.
- MAN Force Trucks.
- Toyota-Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd.
- Volvo Buses India Pvt. Ltd.
- Daimler-Chrysler (India).
- BMW India.
- Ford India.
- Hindustan Motors.
- Piaggio & Co.
- Fiat India Automobiles Ltd.
- Mercedes-Benz India.
- Audi India.
- Skoda Auto India.
- Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd.
- Kinetic Engineering Ltd.
- Land Rover India.
- Jaguar India.
Thanks to the vast expanse of India and huge agricultural industry, you can also find jobs at large companies that manufacture farming vehicles such as tractors. Indian and foreign companies make tractors and other farming equipment and vehicles at production facilities spread across the country.
Additionally, cranes, excavators, and construction equipment are also made in India by domestic and foreign companies in collaboration with local counterparts. These companies also hire qualified engineers.
With privatization in certain areas, the Indian Armed Forces also hire civilians for maintenance of its vehicles. However, such maintenance is limited to passenger and freight vehicles only that are not required for deployment on India’s sensitive frontiers. Maintenance of military vehicles including battle tanks, artillery carriers, armored personnel carriers, among others, is generally entrusted to graduates from the College of Military Engineering.
Relocation for work
Since most automobile plants are located outside large cities, you may have to relocate from your hometown to make a career as an automobile engineer. Generally, automobile makers provide sufficient facilities to ensure your move from hometown to workplace is smooth and hassle-free.
Additionally, you will be entitled to several perks such as memberships of staff clubs, benefits for your family such as free medical care, education allowance for kids, leave travel allowance and lots more.
Foreign companies operating in India generally send their automobile engineers for training at their home base. Meaning, you get a chance to learn about the latest techniques used in the sector in countries such as US, UK, Germany, Japan, and Korea, among others.
As you can see from the facts we present, a career as automobile engineer is indeed amazing and well paid. You can select your job profile from the broad spectrum of tasks we enumerate earlier in this article.
Here are some more facts that will help you decide in favor of making a career as an automobile engineer. According to figures published by International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers or OICA:
- Indian auto manufacturers produced a record 25.3 million motor vehicles during the financial year 2016-17. These included 3.79 million passenger vehicles.
- India is the largest manufacturer of three-wheelers at 780,000 rickshaws and fourth largest in commercial vehicle manufacturing with over 800,000 such automobiles made in 2016-2017.
- India is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers accounting for 19.9 million scooters and motorcycles.
- Tractors made in India constitute a third of those manufactured worldwide, at 580,000 during fiscal 2016-2017.
- Over 13 million people work directly or indirectly in the auto industry.
- More than 43 000 medium and heavy-duty trucks were exported from India in 2016-2017 from companies including Daimler, Mitsubishi Fuso, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland.
- Domestic motor vehicle sales in 2016-17 included 3.05 m passenger cars, 0.71 m commercial vehicles, 0.51 m three-wheelers and 17.59 two-wheelers.
- The total turnover of the Indian automotive component industry was estimated at US$ 45 billion in 2016-17.
- Auto ancillary and spares exports from India fetched US$ 14 billion in fiscal 2016-2017.
- Other reports indicate, a large number of foreign automobile manufacturers including Peugeot, SIAC, Seat, among others, are planning to enter India.
We hope these facts and figures will help you to choose or dismiss a career in automobile engineering.