Aura alloys to go on Civic

by 22 May 2006

Hindalco Industries (HIL), which manufactures the Aura brand of alloy wheels, has bagged a major order from Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI). The company’s Silvassa-based aluminium alloy wheels division will supply aluminium alloy wheels as OE fitment for the Honda Civic which is slated to be released sometime later this year in India. HIL will send around 3000 to 4000, 15 x 6-inch machined finished wheels a month, valued at roughly Rs 60 lakh per consignment. The wheels will be manufactured according to the specifications that it obtained from its customer, Autocar Professional has learnt from a company official. A focussed and innovative marketing strategy has been helping the company maintain its leadership position in the aluminium alloy wheels business in the country.

Apart from educating vehicle owners on the benefits of using aluminium alloy wheels, compared to traditional wheels, and also creating awareness among dealers of automobiles and accessories by taking part in exhibitions, the company has been following an interesting marketing ‘OE-accessory’ medium where it has tied up with carmakers to allow it to sell its wheels at their dealerships across the country. It is at these ‘points of purchase’ that the marketing team encourages car buyers to fit aluminium alloy wheels on their newly-purchased vehicles. It is not necessary that a vehicle-maker has to be an OE customer of HIL for it to be allowed to market its wheels at vehicle showrooms. However, the aluminium alloy wheels are validated before the company is allowed to market its products at these points of purchase.

This is a win-win situation for both HIL as well as the vehicle-maker as the latter need not factory-fit aluminium alloy wheels and thereby hike the per unit cost of a vehicle, but indirectly encourage such wheels to be fitted on a vehicle at a showroom and hence enhance its aesthetics and build potential-customer interest for the vehicle. HIL’s wheels division supplies its products both to the OE as well as the Indian aftermarket and also exports to customers in the US, UK, South Africa, UAE, Bangladesh and Vietnam. Its domestic customers include DaimlerChrysler India, Maruti Udyog, Tata Motors, Hyundai Motor India and General Motors. The aluminium alloy wheel market has seen a 35 to 40 percent growth in the previous financial year (2005-06) in the 60:40 ratio between the customer segment of the OE and aftermarket respectively.

Unlike aluminium alloy wheel-making companies in the automotive markets of developed countries such as the US and Europe, where a company supplies either to the OE segment or the aftermarket but not both, companies like HIL in India are multi-segment suppliers and have to be so to create the market and not wait for the market to be created. HIL, it is learnt, has in the past decade, invested upto Rs 10 crore for taking its alloy wheels business ahead. Other aluminium alloy wheel-makers in the country include Synergies-Dooray Automotive , Enkei Castalloy, and Neo Wheels, among others.

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