Harman recently announced that its automotive electronics manufacturing plant in Chakan near Pune will be expanded so as to triple production for which the manufacturer has invested Rs 350 crore. Harman is the manufacturer of sophisticated automotive electronics like infotainment systems which have been incorporated by several car manufacturers. For example, the touchscreen infotainment system we see in Tata Tigor is supplied by Harman.
With this major investment, Harman aims to increase the Chakan plant's production capacity by three times by 2021 and in the process will double the workforce in the same period. One of Harman's focus areas in the coming three years will be to increase the production of Digital Cockpit Units (DCU) and Telematics Control Units (TCU) from current 2 lakh units to 25 lakh annually.
Harman will install four new world-class SMT production/assembly lines, scaling from existing two to six lines, to meet the growing demands for connected car solutions. The manufacturing plant will supply to car manufacturers in India and international markets as well, including mass-market car manufacturers and luxury carmakers like Mercedes-Benz.
Harman is the first car tech manufacturer which has acquired the project for developing 5G telematics systems for BMW. 5G connectivity will further improve Internet-connected car tech where customers will be able to live stream content seamlessly.
During our conversation with Dinesh C Paliwal, President and CEO, Harman, opined that in very near future in-car experience will take centre stage. He said that going forward, specs like RPM and km/l will be meaningless and people will focus more on 'EPM' – Experience Per Mile – and the in-car entertainment and convenience experience will matter more. “We're the designer of that experience,” he added. Eventually, as autonomous cars are developed, Harman aims to be the service provider of in-car experience tech.
Harman supplies tech that allows OTA (over the air) updates so the customer does not have to visit the dealership in order to get their car infotainment system updated. The manufacturer is providing the OTA tech for some 23 global car companies today. Harman will also step into cyber-security tech for cars and has invested in three companies in Isreal for the same.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadvanis after inaugurating the second phase of the plant, said: "This is the first major manufacturing investment by a top global corporation, post-2019 general elections." He said that the state welcomes Harman's new investment to boost manufacturing in the state.
The 1st major private sector investment post elections takes off with the launch of @Harman ‘s Automative Connected Car Technologies Plant in Chakan by CM, Maharastra @Dev_Fadnavis Production to rise 12 times in hi-tech infotainment,telematics,navigation, cyber security.Congrats! pic.twitter.com/5wbUKsUF0j
— Amitabh Kant (@amitabhk87) June 3, 2019
"Over the last five years, our government has had a relentless focus on improving the ease of doing business. We are excited to see a large, global corporation like Harman taking advantage of our programmes and working towards empowering the skilled workforce in India," he said.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, who was also present at the event, said that they believe that the future of India's economy is dependent on the strength and nature of our large corporations. “Under our Prime Minister's governance, India is set on a high trajectory growth rate by undertaking a series of structural reforms across sectors, which will catalyze private sector investments and job creation. Harman's announcement today is taking a definitive step in the right direction,” Kant said.