Emerging past the last two challenging years, every industry learned one common lesson – there will always be hurdles, but the journey is all about going forward – Accepting-Adapting-Advancing. This is true for the automotive industry as well, which is now gradually moving on an upward trajectory.
The $57-billion (Rs 4,45,056 crore) auto components industry has dealt with almost every crisis – Covid-19, component and chip shortages, the Russia-Ukraine conflict and all the aftershocks are now steadily getting back to normalcy and every organisation in their own ways are managing a more strengthened comeback.
However, there are different sets of challenges that are yet to be dealt with – inflationary pressures on fuel prices, commodity price rise, and logistical challenges such as container prices have also played a key role in the disruption. To add to woes Shanghai’s major ports have been closed due to an outbreak of a new Covid-19 strain, says Ashok Minda, Group CEO, Spark Minda Group.
Tier 1 supplier, Minda Corporation is one of the largest suppliers of components for the two- & three-wheelers, passenger vehicles, and commercial vehicle segments across the globe. The $445-million (Rs 3,474 crore) group is known for manufacturing electronic and mechanical security systems, telematics, wiring harnesses, and sensors among others.
In an interaction with The Financial Express FE, Minda, spoke about the automotive industry and the ongoing challenges the industry is facing nationally as well as globally. “To overcome these challenges, we have made a steering committee that is constantly monitoring the situation and taking needed measures to ensure the lag in supply is kept to as little as possible. Our endeavour remains one where we must not be the reason for our customers’ production lines stopping,” says Minda.
The OEM’s focus essentially for the ongoing fiscal is to be on enhancing the core and strengthening the passenger vehicle offerings. The company has already entered into the development of products like the DC-DC converter and battery chargers for EVs. Going forward Minda group aims to manufacture digital screens (7 inches and above) for the two-wheeler and passenger vehicle segment.
Aligning with what the future beholds, all the vertices directly engage with the EV space. A separate entity christened ‘Spark Minda Green Mobility’ is dedicatedly working in the EV domain.
“Our theme for FY23 is ’disrupt – Innovate – Lead’. Spark Minda has leveraged several strategic pillars of growth which will enhance powertrain agnostic products and content per vehicle. It comprises of 3-pronged approach – expanding already built R&D unit, technology licensing and joint ventures with global players,” reveals Minda.
He highlights that India’s EV market is growing fast now, while the penetration pace is slow, “but we can expect a gradual pick-up”. With the word EV, a lot of factors come into play like the battery issues, charging infrastructures, driving range, and the most concerning – the fire incidents every other day.
The scope and potential of EVs are accepted globally. However, a lot needs to be done to take this ahead. Along with this, concepts like micro-shared mobility, and connected and autonomous vehicles are taking the automobile industry to a different level.
Minda, commenting on the same, adds, “The global auto fraternity is moving towards a single goal of connected driving that is environment-friendly, comfortable, and safe. What India requires now is a strategic transition that does not project EVs as the only option in the future, but rather a path forward, enabling a transition to a clean transportation system in the country without pushing its manufacturing capabilities to its limits.”
“We are constantly working towards adding new electronic products to our portfolio and premiumisation of existing products. We plan to invest in R&D and further equip it with the latest technology and we are working on developing more products that can aid in the faster adoption of EVs. We believe it is very important to invest and look for more inorganic partnership opportunities and will continue to invest in R&D for new technology.”
The Minda Corporation entered into strategic tie-ups with Israel-based Ride Vision and Korea’s Infac in FY2022. The company also acquired a 26 per cent equity stake in charging solutions start-up Evqpoint Solutions during the same year.
As of now, the group is looking into more such investment opportunities that would aid the company in extending its R&D and production capacities. Investments like greenfield and brownfield are still in the pipeline.