Rinder lights up Bajaj, TVS

Pune-based Rinder India, which makes automotive lighting products, is expanding its facility at Chakan by about 30 percent. The plant currently has a capacity of about three million lighting sets.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 05 Jul 2011 Views icon3766 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Rinder lights up Bajaj, TVS
Pune-based Rinder India, which makes automotive lighting products, is expanding its facility at Chakan by about 30 percent. The plant currently has a capacity of about three million lighting sets. The new capacity is expected to be ready by the fourth quarter of the current calendar which is when the company, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Rinder of Spain, gets ready to implement its plans for 2012.

Managing director S A Latif told Autocar Professional that the company saw a growth of 32 percent in 2010 (Rinder follows the calendar year) even though there was some inertia in the early phase, he says. Latif added that the company’s growth has been propelled by business from the likes of Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company. Bajaj Auto is the company’s top customer accounting for an estimated 46 percent of business followed by TVS at 23 percent. Apart from these key local clients, Rinder’s turnover is accounted for by exports as well. Among its top clients is Kawasaki’s Asian operations located in Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia as well as exports to Yamaha and back to its Spanish principals from its north India facility at Bahadurgarh. Overall, as a part of turnover, Rinder’s exports account for about 23 percent.

Speaking about Rinder India’s performance in the last fiscal, Latif is quick to point out that the good growth that the company saw can be attributed to three key products. The first is the Dost, the Leyland-Nissan light commercial vehicle soon slated for launch. The other is the TVS Jive and finally the product codenamed U157 (also of TVS) that goes exclusively to Indonesia. Going forward, for the year 2011, Rinder is banking on the Dost, the KTM 125cc bike, the Duke, exports of which have begun to Europe, and a host of other products which include products for an SUV, a European scooter manufacturer, and two projects apiece for Kawasaki and local players.

For the KTM Duke, Rinder is supplying a bulk of the lighting which includes tail-lights with LEDs, headlights and blinkers, the smallest ever made so far for two-wheelers, Latif says proudly, and numberplate lights too. These two products alone spell good business. For KTM, volumes are now low but will build up in the course of the year. Bajaj Auto is also slated to launch the bike in India towards the end of the current year and depending on how it is priced and sells in the market, it’s good business for Rinder.

Latif says he cannot volunteer information about the ongoing projects with Kawasaki and local players but what is clear is that he wants to build on the business that his company does for Kawasaki overseas. Incidentally, the Ninja 650R launched in India recently had its headlights and tail-lights made by Rinder here. They were sent to Kawasaki overseas where they are fitted onto the bike launched here as a CBU. Rinder is also exporting lighting products to Piaggio in Europe for high-end scooters. The numbers are small and are not likely to increase and when Piaggio does decide to bring in its own small car (showcased at the Milan auto show in November last year), he may well get a call. "EU-based OEs want to buy from India in order to keep costs in check and so that’s business for us," says Latif.

Four-wheeler potential - While Rinder’s business is based solidly in two-wheelers, it does have a small base in four-wheelers. It supplies small numbers for Tata Motors trucks and a nite spot for Maruti and the Mahindra Verito. The nite spot is a device that can be connected to the car’s battery and be used if needed for peering under the hood.

With the Leyland-Nissan Dost close to launch, Latif says that in the case of the Dost, the lamp may not be of a high-tech nature but “keeping in mind the segment targeted, every attempt was made to offer better than what is available on the market but cost-effective.”

“With the Dost, our challenge was to have uniform light distribution. So we finally got a solution matching the costs constraint with technology. Our hinge-mounted lights also preserve aesthetics.” Since January, the company has been supplying tail-lights for ALL’s low-floor buses. For Rinder, this is significant and Latif is undoubtedly aware of the potential in the CV sector. Backing it is the fact that Rinder in Spain has developed products for Volvo and Irizar in Europe. As regards Bajaj Auto, it is indeed, a prestigious order for Rinder which has seen good numbers from Bajaj’s local sales that have been very good. Coming to design and research, Rinder has a team based out of its Spanish headquarters that deals closely with the Rinder’s Chakan-based project management team.

Asked how Rinder handled costs for the KTM project, Latif points out that the Bajaj team was not only knowledgeable but had a set formula as regards costs. There were no ambiguities and so things got done fast, he recalls. In a fast-paced industry, the need of the hour is to have a joint effort that targets costs and helps at design-freeze stage, he adds. Significant exports - For 2012, Rinder has several projects in the bag and many are for the export market. Kawasaki is looking to use Rinder’s expertise for a variety of projects and there are always projects for upgrading the existing range of products. Despite the focus on exports, Latif says he does not see the exports share of Rinder’s business going up substantially but it will keep it significant. In the domestic market, Rinder’s strategy is to deepen its involvement with TVS for which three projects that are in progress. “With the Wego, we did what they wanted us to do but now we put our minds together, jointly study players and their USP and even study a potential segment.”

This is a win-win for the stakeholders, he avers. “We ensure that regulations are followed and that there is also value for money.” For parent company Rinder, it's been quite an amazing journey for this Spanish company to be able to have a slice of the action in India’s turbocharged automotive sector. Globally, the company is now looking at setting up shop in Vietnam and even further afield as Brazil. Rinder India wants to strengthen its R&D capabilities as well as its relationship with Kawasaki. Latif says that the pressure on costs is a constant in an industry where the focus is to give the best and at the most cost-effective prices. He also has to handle the challenge of getting staff and retaining them, a problem that affects all companies, not just those operating in the auto sector.

In Chakan, there are several auto suppliers and big names such as the Tatas and Bajaj Auto, joined more recently by the likes of Volkswagen India and General Motors. Getting staff is therefore a continuing challenge. “We try to retain staff by giving them more exposure and responsibilities,” concludes Latif.
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