Hitachi Automotive Systems has been eyeing the aftermarket segment in India for its auto components and system solutions. On the sidelines of the Auto Expo in New Delhi, Auto Tech Review met with Bradley J Maggart, President, Hitachi Automotive Systems Asia and Executive Officer, Hitachi Automotive Systems, to discuss the new launch of the Tokico brand of suspensions in India and the company’s future plans in India.
Aiming to gain a larger market share in India, Hitachi exhibited its latest new range of electrification and autonomous driving system solutions relevant to Indian customer requirements. The company has been focusing on new automotive technologies like autonomous driving and electric cars. It is also working on components that improve the fuel efficiency of a vehicle.
The Indian automotive market has seven major suspension component players, and Hitachi is bullish about tapping into this market with its Tokico brand. The thought process behind introducing the Tokico brand in India stems from the prevailing huge demand for these products in the aftermarket, where customers have been importing their parts themselves.
Hitachi Automotive Systems operates suspension components plants in Mexico, China and Thailand. The company’s Tokico products that will be sold in India will be initially imported from Thailand.
TECHNICAL SUPPORT CENTRE IN DELHI
The company had recently announced the establishment of a new technical support centre in Delhi, in order to ramp up its presence in North India as well as to enhance technical support to its customers across the country. The work on the technical support centre is underway and it is expected to be operational with eight people at the end of FY2018. The technical centre will also help in supplier development in the future as the company enhances its localisation levels as well as increases local and export supplies.
CHENNAI PRODUCTION UNIT
Hitachi Automotive Systems, which had introduced its range of variable valve timing controls and plug-top coils (PTCs) for OE supplies in 2015, is setting up a new manufacturing line at its Chennai plant, as it is now witnessing unprecedented change in the country’s automotive sector, largely fuelled by growing middle class aspirations.
The company’s basic strategy is to locally produce in the Indian market, in line with the government’s Make in India drive. With rising vehicle volumes, the company has invested in its second PTC line at its Chennai facility and intends to fully utilise its entire installed capacity by 2020, said Maggart.
Hitachi Automotive Systems has been in the country since 2004 through Hueco. In a bid to scale up its aftermarket operations the company acquired Hueco in early 2012. The company is keen to utilise its existing warehouse and distribution network in the country to form firm impressions for Tokico products.
FUTURE EXPANSION PLANS
Maggart mentioned that the company will continue to invest in the Indian market and is carefully evaluating the launch of at least two new products between 2018 and 2020. Hitachi Automotive Systems is investing in solutions that contribute to the Indian society. At the Delhi Auto Expo, the company showcased the latest technology in areas of electrification and autonomous driving, along with a range of engine technologies that help reduce vehicle pollution in order to comply with BS VI norms over the next two years.
With its in-car entertainment subsidiary, Clarion, Hitachi Automotive Systems is also prepared to offer connected solutions for the future, including telematics and IoT platform products with a vision to support smart city projects globally. The company is collaborating with the Indian government to lend technical support for the Smart City project.
While plug-top coils aim to increase efficiency as well as reduce emissions in ICE vehicles, the company displayed its electric motors, inverters and Li-ion batteries in the vehicle electrification space. Hitachi Automotive Systems’ drive control systems division also showcased its range of electrically driven intelligent brakes and semi-active suspension systems.
The automotive systems business contributes around 10 % to the global business of the diversified Hitachi Group and it looks at the aftermarket as a key pillar to accelerate its future growth in India. India holds an extremely important position in Hitachi’s future growth strategy and it will pump in 50 % of its scheduled future regional investments in FY2019 in India, Maggart said.
Commenting on the growth of EVs, Maggart said that countries around the world are witnessing penetration of electrified and autonomous driving vehicles, and India is no exception. In terms of electrification trends, the Indian government had last year announced the ban on domestic sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030. Given the push for electric-powered vehicles and to address accident-prone fatalities in India, there is a huge need for safe driving support technologies, added Maggart.
TEXT: Anwesh Koley