A new fourth manufacturing plant, sales, brand perception and future of Studds Helmets discussed

The new Studds helmet manufacturing facility will be operational in January 2020 and the company aims to increase its market presence to 35 per cent in the coming years.

By:Published: December 15, 2019 11:24:01 AM

Studds is one of the better known helmet brands in India. At least it was the beginner for many a auto enthusiast. The brand has come up a long way and now is one of the leading players in the Indian helmet industry. We caught up with Sidharth Bhushan Khurana, the MD of Studds Accessories to give us some insights on the industry overall. Here are the excerpts.

How did the idea of starting Studds helmets seep in?

The manufacturing and marketing of Studds helmets was started in 1975 by the two brothers, Madhu Bhushan Khurana and Ravi Bhushan Khurana. Madhu Bhushan Khurana was a rally enthusiast and was participating in a rally in Coimbatore. The helmets could not arrive in time and as such the rally was postponed (At that time there were only a couple of helmet manufacturing companies in India) . This lack of availability of good quality helmets in India gave the brothers the idea of manufacturing helmets and hence the manufacturing of helmets and brand were established in 1975

At one point of time, Studds was an aspirational budget brand for many. How has the perception changed now, given that there is a huge competition?

Studds has always been an aspirational brand for many in India over last 40 years. It still enjoys the trust and favour of most two-wheeler riders in the country. The safety, reliability and the style of the product are the primary reasons that the brand is always ahead of the competition. Also, the new ideas and innovations let the brand stay ahead of the curve. The brand enjoys a market share of 27 per cent in the domestic market, which is way ahead of any other brand. As such the perception hasn’t changed but only has become stronger over time.

Can you please share details on the market share, number of helmet models that you have on sale and cost of the lowest as well as highest priced model along with their names.

There are more than 30 models in the Studds range with more than 8000 variants (in sizes, colors and graphics). The lowest price of a Studds motorcycle helmet is Rs. 825 and the highest is Rs. 2,165.

Who are the investors and how much investment has gone into the company? How many plants do you have, production capacity and plans of expansion.

The Khurana family owns 85 per cent of the company and the balance 15 per cent are shareholders, which include dealers, customers and other investors. The investment into the company so far is more than 300 crores. Currently there are three plants operational. Two producing motorcycle helmets and one producing bicycle helmets. Another plant for motorcycle helmets and accessories (which will be the fourth plant) would be operational from January 2020 which will double the capacity to 12.5 million motorcycle helmets. The capacity for bicycle helmets currently stands as 1.5 million units.

Tell us something more about the new SMK brand of helmets? How has the response been so far?

With the strong growth in premium motorcycle industry, there was an opportunity of entering the premium helmets segment. As a thumb rule, an average consumer spends 2 per cent to 3 per cent of the motorcycle cost for purchasing a motorcycle helmet. With the premium motorcycle industry growing at a fast pace in India the company saw an opportunity to create an even more aspirational premium brand and take it global. The brand SMK was launched in EICMA exhibition in Milan in November 2015. Currently the helmets are selling in five continents (Asia, Australia, North America, Latin America and Europe) and more than 45 countries. The brand is growing at an exponential rate in foreign markets and India. Currently SMK enjoys a market share of 3 per cent of European market and we expect it to grow to 10 per cent in next three years. The helmets confirm to the toughest global standards like ECE, NBR, DOT etc. SMK Helmets is evolving as a strong urban and tourer global brand.

What does the future look like for Studds?

The brand has constantly been increasing market share over last 15 years and aims at achieving 35 per cent market share in next three years. So, the future looks bright to say the least. Moreover, with recent regulatory developments the opportunity is growing and being the market leader Studds should have significant increase in market penetration.

 

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