At the Auto Expo 2016 – Component Show, there was a visible focus by companies on the 'Make In India' scheme. Many international suppliers showcased their products developed in India for local consumption and one such company was Denso. At the company's display we caught up with Yoshitaka Kajita, President, DENSO International India Pvt Ltd & Executive Director, DENSO Corporation (R). He was accompanied by Takao Nojiri, Deputy Managing Director (Head, R&D), DENSO International India Pvt Ltd (L). Together they gave us an insight into the new two-wheeler technology, which is the first product to have been designed & developed in India for India.
Doko is a two-wheeler accessory aimed at expanding the aftermarket business for DENSO and the system offers users with functions such as remote motorbike finder and anti-theft. Doko was designed and developed at the DENSO's technical centre in Manesar, Gurgaon, said Kajita. Doko's concept was born out of the company's market research to find out new growth areas in the market. The research revealed that the high-volumes of two-wheelers in the country and the growing size of the aftermarket offered space for a new product. Further research revealed that cities like Delhi and Bangalore have huge parking lots, posing unique safety and convenience related challenges for the two-wheeler customer due to most vehicles being similar in looks.
On being asked about the competition from similar Chinese products, we were told those products face regular problems in areas such as reliability and quality. Since DENSO is more focussed on quality than low-price points, Doko will cost more than the Chinese competition but will offer higher value in the form of longer life and better quality, said Nojiri. Doko was developed by DENSO in a record one year timeframe, making it one of the quickest product development cycles for the company. While the product will be launched in the aftermarket in May, 2016, it'll also be offered to OEMs who are in discussion with DENSO for the same.
Doko consists of a controller, which stays with the rider and a receiver that is connected to the battery of the two-wheeler. The controller can be used by the rider to start flashing of the turn signals along with a beeping sound, helping locate the vehicle in large parking lots. Doko also serves as an anti-theft device and alerts the vehicle owner or nearby people by flashing the signals and sounding an alarm in case of sudden force being applied to the vehicle or the ignition switch being directly connected to the battery. In addition, riders can use the controller to flash all four of their turn signal lamps simultaneously in order to double up as a hazard light, something that is almost non-existent in the Indian two-wheelers.
The system itself being positioned as a premium product will come with a controller featuring high-quality finish, making it visually similar to the car key fobs. Responding to the effect of the system on the vehicle battery, Nojiri said that the receiver requires very little power and will not reduce the overall life of the battery or its performance.
Since Doko marks the debut of DENSO in this space, the company isn't sure of what sales are expected. Sales are expected to be good considering the number of two-wheelers already existing in the country and the ones that are expected to sell in the coming years. We were told the company is ready to meet the market demand for Doko, the manufacturing of which has interestingly been outsourced to an undisclosed company.
While Doko is an interesting product from DENSO, only time will tell how it will perform in the market as there are hardly any established players operating in this domain presently. Beyond Doko, one of DENSO's product focus area is powertrain, where the government has decided to skip BS V and progress to BS VI. In order to help OEMs achieve this leap in a short frame of time, DENSO is offering its latest common rail system and direct fuel injection system. Going forward these products will be of great importance for the Japanese supplier as OEMs will need to move to these technologies in order to satisfy rapidly strengthening emission norms.
Text: Arpit Mahendra
Photo: Bharat Bhushan Upadhyay /Denso