Gurgaon-based Sandhar Technologies, the Rs 2,000 crore component supplier to the automotive industry, has tied up with the US-based HJC Helmets as it plans a foray into the helmet manufacturing business as early as FY2018.
The Indian company looks to tap the growing demand for motorcycle helmets as they are expected to be mandatorily sold along with every two-wheeler in the near future. India, as is well known, has a very poor road safety record; in 2015, motorised vehicles accounted for 95.5% of the total road accidents and of the vehicle categories, two-wheelers accounted for the highest share in total road accidents (28.8%) in 2015.
In an exclusive conversation with Autocar Professional, on the sidelines of ACMA’s second ACT summit in Pune last week, Jayant Davar, co-chairman and managing director, Sandhar Technologies (pictured above), said: “On the safety front, we have tied up with HJC Helmets because they (helmets) are becoming mandatory for every motorcycle manufacturer to sell two helmets along with the bike. This means an industry, which is roughly 17 million units strong, will suddenly require 34 million helmets. The helmets that are currently sold in the local market do not need any specifications. Riders wear helmets because the government says wear the helmets. The quality of existing helmets available in the market remains unreliable, and hence, largely unsafe. HJC is the world leader in manufacturing safety helmets for motorcycle riders. We will start manufacturing these helmets from the next financial year.”
Sandhar Technologies, which is a manufacturer and supplier of a wide portfolio of components including locking systems, door handles, wheel rims and assemblies, relays, aluminium die castings, handlebar and assemblies, and many others, has close to 33 production units (including four manufacturing plants across Spain, Poland and Mexico) globally.
To set up 3 helmet-manufacturing plants
Sandhar, which is building its R&D capabilities on the front of smart electronics and app-based solutions for OEMs, now plans to set up three manufacturing units for producing HJC helmets in India.
Commenting on the manufacturing plan, Davar said: “Yes, we will have three plants for manufacture of helmets initially with a production capacity of one million units each. These will be set up under different phases. One of them will probably be set up in Bawal (Haryana). The second unit is being planned as an export-oriented unit and will come up near a port. So, it could be Gujarat or Chennai in Tamil Nadu.”
Although the amount of investment planned specifically for the helmet manufacturing units is not known, according to Davar, the company has earmarked more than Rs 300 crore on new product lines, technologies and production plants over the next two years.
Sandhar Technologies was first incorporated in 1987 as a supplier to Hero MotoCorp (erstwhile Hero Honda Motors) for sheet metal components.
HJC, a global helmet brand, has been manufacturing motorcycle helmets since 1971 with factories in USA, Korea, China, and Vietnam. Its distributor network spans across North and South America, Canada, Europe, Africa and Middle East and Asia Pacific including China. Although HJC-branded helmets are available for retail in India, they are currently imported and sold through company authorised dealership(s).