Hitachi Automotive Systems, the wholly owned subsidiary of the 9,162 billion yen Hitachi Group, headquartered in Japan, is bullish on expanding its footprint in the aftermarket space in India.
The company, which already offers a host of products in the Indian aftermarket, including glow plugs, ignition coil sensors, relays and fuel pumps, has now introduced a new range of suspension components under its Tokico brand.
Tokico is a renowned name in the US, Europe, Japan and other Asian markets, where it enjoys a premium positioning, competing against the likes of KYB and Showa in the area of braking and suspension parts. The brand has a sizeable 24 percent share in the aftermarket space in Thailand, where it is also a leader in catering to the huge demand from the pick-up segment of the local market.
Bradley J Maggart: "The Tokico brand already has huge demand in India."
Speaking to Autocar Professional on the sidelines of the Auto Expo in New Delhi earlier this month, Bradley J Maggart, president, Hitachi Automotive Systems Asia, and executive officer, Hitachi Automotive Systems, said, “The thought behind introducing Tokico in India came from the fact that there is already a huge demand and liking for these products in the aftermarket, where customers are seen importing the parts themselves. So, we decided to officially introduce the range of products here in India.”
“India has seven major suspension components players in the country, and now since the brand is here, we have a fair opportunity of exploring the market in the coming future,” he added.
Hitachi Automotive Systems, which has suspension components plants in Mexico, China and Thailand, will initially be importing the Tokico products from Thailand, to be sold in India.
New manufacturing line in Chennai
The company, which had introduced its range of variable valve timing controls and plug-top coils (PTCs) for OE supplies in 2015, also setting up a new manufacturing line at its Chennai plant, is now seeing unprecedented change in the automotive sector in the country, which is being fuelled by growing aspirations of the middle class.
“Our basic strategy has been that of locally producing for local consumption in the market, also aligning with the government's Make in India programme. With rising vehicle volumes, we have invested in our second PTC line at our Chennai facility and we intend to fully utilise the entire installed capacity by 2020,” said Maggart.
Hitachi Automotive Systems, which has been present in the country since 2004 through Hueco, in an attempt to scale up its aftermarket business, completely acquired Hueco in early 2012. The company is looking to utilise its existing warehouse and distribution network in the country to form firm impressions for Tokico products.
New technical support centre in Delhi
The company also announced the establishment of a new technical support centre in Delhi, in order to expand its presence in North India and to also enhance the level of technical aid to its customers in the country. While the work is underway, the facility would get operational with eight people by the end of FY2018. Going forward, the technical centre will also help in supplier development in the future as the company enhances its localisation levels and increases its local and export supplies.
Two new products in the next two years
According to Maggart, “We continue to invest in the Indian market and are carefully evaluating the launch of at least two new products in the near future between 2018 and 2020. Hitachi Automotive Systems is investing in solutions that contribute to the Indian society. At the Delhi Auto Expo, we displayed the latest technology in electrification and autonomous driving, along with a range of engine technologies that help reduce vehicle pollution in order to comply with BS VI norms in the next two years.”
While PTCs aim to increase efficiency as well as reduce emissions in IC-engined vehicles, the company displayed its electric motors, inverters and Li-ion batteries in the vehicle electrification space. Its drive control systems division also showcased its range of electrically driven intelligent brakes and semi active suspension systems.
With its in-car entertainment subsidiary, Clarion, Hitachi Automotive Systems is also prepared to offer connected solutions for the future, including telematics and IoT platform products with a vision to support smart city projects globally. In India, the company is collaborating with the government to lend technical support in its Smart City project.
The automotive systems business contributes roughly 10 percent to the entire global business of the highly diversified Hitachi Group and the company looks at the aftermarket as a key pillar to accelerate its future growth in India.
“India holds an extremely important position in our future growth strategy and 50 percent of all our slated future regional investments in FY2019 are going to be infused in India,” Maggart concluded.