India’s IT industry has set its sights on the global automotive market, according to a report in the country’s Business Standard newspaper.

The report cites IMF predictions of 2.9 billion cars worldwide by 2050, with India’s expected total up fivefold to 400 million.

The IT industry is keen to benefit from the introduction of new technologies in the production process and in the car itself, according to the Business Standard.

“The biggest changes in the past few years are those of electrification and the inclusion of infotainment features within the car space,” said P Balendran, vice-president, General Motors (GM) India. He also noted that internet access in the car will have a major impact.

The Business Standard said new requirements in the auto industry provide major new opportunities for IT service providers.

Among Indian IT companies, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has signed a deal with racecar maker Ferrari. Cognizant is also increasingly active in the auto industry. And Infosys Technologies is targeting in-car infotainment system and claims it is building products for the consumer that are not just aimed at the reduction of costs.

“Small cars, emerging markets, electric vehicles and ”˜infotainment’ that is becoming more standardized around the world are areas we would want to capture,” according to an Infosys white paper quoted by the newspaper.

But the implementation of new technologies is likely to take a while in India. “In terms of technologies like onboard telematics, India is behind,” said R K Ramesh, general manager, marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motors. “Overall infrastructure needs to be developed before incorporating these technologies.”

Standalone IT applications are most common in India, but they are expensive. The average features implemented raise the cost of a car by 5-15 pc.

In the Indian market, local IT companies hope they can help business processes, bring user-friendly applications into the car and leverage social media platforms.