Delux Bearings, one of India's leading domestic manufacturers of clutch bearings, ball bearings, pulleys and steering column bearings, participated at the Auto Expo after a four-year hiatus and showcased 2-3 new product technologies to its OE customers.
The Mumbai-based Delux Bearings, which has a strong presence in the commercial vehicle segment, where it supplies critical bearings like clutch release bearing, is now actively looking to tap new business opportunities in the passenger vehicle market. By pushing an aggressive growth roadmap, increasing capacities, developing new products and entering into new segments, the company aims to double its turnover by 2020.
Speaking to Autocar Professional, Rohan Rathod, director and CEO, Delux Bearings, said, “We have always been strong in commercial vehicles; it is also easy to deliver the volumes and invest in those capacities. Now our aim is to bring the brand and testimony of CVs, learn and then invest that into the passenger vehicle segment where the volumes, risk and technology are higher.”
Rohan Rathod, director and CEO, Delux Bearings.
Expanding its manufacturing capacity
Acquisition of newer OE customers, both domestic and export, has kept growth intact for Delux Bearings. Its latest investment is in a new factory in Gujarat, which will help expand capacity and also roll out new products. The plant, which began operations in end-2016, will be fully functional in mid-2018; new machines are likely to be installed this year which will make the plant fully automated. “We are looking to double the capacities of the old factory to about 6-7 million units per annum, this will take the total volume to 10 million units per annum at full capacity,” informed Rathod. At present, the company manufactures 6 million units per annum through three manufacturing plants, one in Pune and two in Gujarat.
Between 2012 to 2015, when the CV industry saw tough times, Delux’s growth was impacted but 2016 onwards there has been a good uptick in growth.
The company has three key verticals — OEMs, export and the aftermarket. While OEMs and export contribute nearly 60 percent, the aftermarket delivers 40 percent of the total revenue. In the OEM business, CVs have always been over 60 percent, 30 percent agriculture, and the balance passenger vehicles.
Exports constitute significant business for Delux Bearings where the company caters to the aftermarket and Tier 1 suppliers in nearly 30 countries in Europe and South America.
PVs: the next growth frontier
Delux Bearings is now eyeing further growth by entering into new segments like passenger cars. Its new product is an import substitute. “Our next phase of growth will come from the new product for passenger vehicles. Now the focus is towards new product development and we are able to tap into the PV segment, which has seen an uptick,” said Rathod.
In a typical truck, there are 3-4 bearing products, which the company is looking to extend to 6-7 products. In passenger cars, there are about 20-30 bearings; right now the company only supplies the clutch release bearing. With some engine bearings currently under development, this will go up to five products.
Upcoming regulations like BS VI will impact Delux Bearings, which supplies its main clutch release bearing for truck engines and gearboxes. This will impact the key products and OEMs are expecting higher out of product durability and quality. The second challenge is lightweighting and the company is trying to shed product weight by actuating the bearings.
The company is also investing in technical capabilities, primarily on the product design front. Similarly, on the testing and validating equipment front, sizeable investments are being made. The company has the full 100 percent share with Daimler India CV for the clutch release bearing. Initially, DICV used to import the clutch release bearing. Working in tandem with the CV maker, Delux Bearings localised the bearing in India within 12 months, which helped it gain full share of the business.
“Indian passenger car makers are still importing a lot of content when it comes to bearings. This is an area where we see an opportunity to tap into and to prove to the customer that with localisation in Delux Bearings, price is not only competitive but also satisfies the quality requirement,” concluded Rathod.