Report: P.Tharyan, Photography: Mohd. Nasir
Can you very briefly tell me a about your company, your products and
your customer profile etc?
We basically manufacture
clutches for medium and heavy duty vehicles. We have been concentrating on this
area. Recently we introduced clutches for light commercial vehicles. In the
long run we are looking at making clutches for tractors also. My factories are
located in Baroda in Gujarat and in Uttarakhand. Our major customers are commercial vehicle
manufacturers including Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Daimler (Bharat Benz),
Eicher, AMW, MAN. All vehicle manufacturers in the country are our customers.
Do you have a technical collaboration for making clutches?
Earlier we had a technical
collaborator when we forayed into commercial vehicles. This started in the year
2000 when Indian vehicle manufacturers in order to upgrade their engines to
meet the new emission norms, started importing clutches. Tata Motors started
this by importing clutches. We with our UK based collaborator, part of Dana
Corporation, indigenised the clutch in 2001-02. And subsequently what Tata was
importing, we started manufacturing in India. In 2005-06 Dena decided to divest
their UK subsidiary. We bought that company. So as such we do not have a
technical collaboration, but we have an R&D centre in UK and an equally
strong R&D centre in India.
The Indian commercial vehicles segment saw a gloomy period recently,
did that have an impact on your business?
As far the OEs are concerned,
the demand is slowly picking up this year. As far as the aftermarket was
concerned, the demand was always there. A clutch typically has one life with
the OE but at least four lives with the aftermarket. Clutch is something that
is changed every two to three years, depending on the usage. We have also
developed clutches for the export market. That is also paying dividend for us.
Coming to clutches for the export market, are these different in any
form with regards to build and quality?
No, they are not. Each clutch
is designed to suit a vehicle, not necessarily a vehicle manufacturer. It
depends on the torque, engine etc. They may remain same for the same application,
but in India most of the vehicle manufacturers do not have that big an engine
going into 500 hp and 600hp. We have to design clutches for that.
What is the turnover your company has achieved?
We are looking at something
around Rs 400 to Rs 500 crore this year. The major chunk of this revenue will
come from the aftermarket. In our line of business the larger share of business
must come from the aftermarket. OE could be around 30-35pc, exports around 10pc
and the remaining 55pc from aftermarket.
In the aftermarket we sell directly to consumers as well as through the
distribution network of Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland.
What are you expectations from the Automechanika show and what is it
that you are displaying here?
We are displaying our capabilities here and our new
products. It is a place where we meet people. Unlike last time there could be a
lot of OE visitors. Most senior OE people do not have time to visit your
factory so here it is simpler to see your range. We also participate in the
shows in Hanover and Frankfurt also. Today in India, in the OE segment, nine
out of ten trucks are fitted with our clutch. We have around 85pc to 90 pc of
the OE market.
How will you describe the Automechanika New Delhi show as compared to
similar shows held abroad?
You cannot compare this show to the one in Germany. It
has been around for a long, long time. But we are getting there, our shows are
good, they are well organised.
How does the future look like when it comes to the clutch business?
The OE business which was
there in 2011-12, which went down to below 30pc of that in terms of numbers, we
can now expect growth to happen. The minute you have infrastructure, power,
mines etc, the growth in commercial vehicles will be stupendous. Basically this
line is linked to GDP growth. We in India are looking forward to good GDP
growth in the coming years. Then the future in commercial vehicle OE as well as
aftermarket becomes good. We are continuously expanding our capacities. We have
a plant in the UK and the US which we use to service our customers there. But
again, overseas if we see an opportunity, we shall be open to it in terms of