The Rs 12-crore new state-of-the-art plant will initially manufacture diesel and electric forklift trucks.Voltas Material Handling (VMH), a joint venture company of India's Voltas and Germany's KION Group has set up a new plant in Pune at Chandannagar near Lohegaon. The plant was inaugurated by Dr Daniel Signorini, VMH Director and Senior Advisor to KION Group, and Milind Shahane, VMH Director and EVP with Voltas. The 90,000- sq ft plant will initially manufacture diesel and electric forklift trucks. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Daniel said that India has a huge potential and VMH has ambitious plans to become No 1 in next 2-3 years. The growth will come through increase in production capacities and enlargement of product portfolio. VMH sees a large potential in the logistics sector which is still fairly unorganised but will change very soon in India. VMH therefore see a large potential for its warehouse equipment, of which KION Group has a full bouquet. Initially some of this equipment is imported from Europe, but will be increasingly localised in India. VMH will continue to invest in India to cater to the large demand."The new plant has an efficient manufacturing set up and will be critical to VMH operations," said Milind Shahane. "Last year VHM produced 1,700 units of forklifts from its Thane plant. The new plant in Pune will have the same production capacities by the end of this year, effectively doubling the capacities of VMH. Voltas had already exported to Middle East and Africa from its Thane plant before and that will continue, he added."KION Group has unrivalled know-how and technological leadership in the forklift truck business, thus the partnership will help VMH further consolidate its leading position in India, said Sanjay Johri, Managing Director, Voltas."VMH has adopted a five pronged action plan for the joint venture, which includes increasing production capacities to enable lower delivery lead times for customers, ensuring technological learning from other KION Group companies, extending the existing product portfolio especially for warehouse, growing the sales and after sales network to reinforce service coverage and responsiveness to customer demands, and making VMH a more entrepreneurial company. As such, the inauguration of Pune plant is the first visible step of the JV. Others are to follow during the course of the year, pointed out Dr Dirk Panhans Head of Finance & Controlling, VHM.The JV started operations in India in May 2011 after Voltas transferred its Materials Handling Business Division (MHBD) of developing, manufacturing, selling and servicing forklift trucks and warehousing equipment to Voltas Material Handling, the Joint Venture company between Voltas and KION Group. Both partners bring unique strengths to the table - Voltas its experience in the Indian market, its strong brand, and products well targeted at Indian customers; KION Group its technological knowhow and its expertise in material handling solutions. Both partners joined forces to lead, with the objective to become customers' number one choice for material handling in India.