AMPA & Autotronics gets global response

While the global automotive industry is working hard at exploring new strategies to ride out the ongoing economic crisis, Taiwan went all out to for its annual AMPA & AutoTronics Taipei Show held from April 14-17.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 07 May 2009 Views icon7882 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Contrary to expectations, this year's show managed to pull over a thousand manufacturers who displayed their products and services at 2,600 booths, a 6.72 percent rise over the previous event. For the first time, the two shows were held together under one roof at the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall and over 55,000 visitors, comprising both local and international buyers, visited the exhibition.

There were close to 200 foreign exhibitors from countries like China, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Japan, India, the United States, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. International OEM procurement teams including those from BMW (Germany), Nissan Automobile (Japan), Mahindra & Mahindra (India), Peugeot-Citroen (China) were there to check out potential business.

There didn't seem to be much of the negative news that seems to pervade the auto world. Instead, there was an air of optimism among Taiwanese parts suppliers. According to YC Chao, president and the CEO of Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), “AMPA is the most professional platform for procurement of aftermarket auto parts and accessories in Asia. This year’s event is a testament to the world that Taiwan’s auto parts makers show no end to automotive creativity.”

Chao added, “According to surveys by the US National Automobile Dealers Association, the financial crisis of the three major American automakers have put nearly 1,000 downstream OEM parts dealers out of business. Subsequently, demand has been shifted toward aftermarket auto parts and this is going to bring lots of business opportunities for the aftermarket auto parts industry in Taiwan. The focus thus will clearly be on how Taiwanese businesses should deploy in new markets in India, the Middle East and ASEAN countries.” Taiwan provides at least 80 per cent of the world’s aftermarket auto parts in the U.S. In addition to the aftermarket, the country is adding strength in the more lucrative original equipment segment, seeking a stronger foothold in the international supply chains of auto brands. Parts suppliers in Taiwan are also gearing up to increase their presence, mainly in the ASEAN area and mainland China. For Taiwan's auto parts makers, the opportunity amid the weak economic scenario lies in automakers' efforts to cut costs, a trend that Taiwan's low-cost, high-quality suppliers are well poised to capitalise on. Agrees Shen Guorong, chairman of leading transmission manufacturer Hota Industrial, “The global financial crisis will force automakers to develop fuel efficient cars, hybrids and other models. Based on this, Taiwanese aftermarket companies will see opportunities and benefit from it.”

The AMPA & AutoTronics Taipei Show brought this aspect to the fore, drawing trade visitors keen on clicking low-cost deals. Automotive electronics were a focus area and several exhibitors showcased a variety of home-grown products including low-pressure LED warning valve caps, 200-degree mobile cameras, reverse guidance systems, image processing chips, and blind zone alert and erase systems besides other related products. The Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium presented the e-Buggy electronic powersystems, blind spot detection and open-door alarm systems and the ACC pre-crash radar systems.

India earmarked for growth

Taiwan, as part of its automotive strategy, is taking a good look at India. The automotive electronics market in India is expected to reach US$ 4.5 billion in 2016. At present, auto electronics and car sensors comprise a mere one percent and six percent respectively of the entire car electronics market in India. However, with more and more consumers turning to safety standards, comfort and entertainment, growth in these areas is expected to increase to over 5-10 per cent in 2010. Thus, as the auto industry’s demand for safety, energy savings, low emissions, comfort and entertainment increase, the market potential of this sector is obvious.

Also, within the ASEAN region, Taiwan has shortlisted India for improved trade relations. Taiwan’s exports to India jumped 33.4 per cent last year compared to the previous year. Meanwhile, India’s exports to Taiwan grew marginally by 2.7 per cent in the same period. Taiwanese parts makers are keen to build relationships with companies like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra. In fact, this correspondent met some local exhibitors claimed to have approached Tata Motors to supply parts. The recent roll-out of the Tata Nano, of course, was of course the talking point at the exhibition and several exhibitors were keen to know more about the small car.

The Indian connection

While the exhibition drew only two Indian participants — Neolite ZKW and Jagan Lamps — a decent number of visitors from the Indian automotive industry visited the show. Mahindra & Mahindra was the sole car maker scouting for quality electronic products. The manufacturer has been importing high-end electronics from Taiwan for the Scorpio for a couple of years now. According to Prabaharan P, manager – R&D Electrical & Electronics, M&M, “We are scouting for aftermarket technologies. There is a lot of promise at the Autotronics & AMPA show and it has improved over the last year's event. We hope to cut a deal soon.” However, Sham, director of the Bangalore-based Methods Automotive which brings the latest auto accessories to India, was not too pleased about the high-priced accessories on show. He said, “The technology is fairly advanced but the pricing is a deterrent.” CV Raman, chief general manager — Engineering, Research, Design & Development Division – 3, Maruti Suzuki; attended the Automotive Electronics Forum. According to him, there is a lot of capability available in Taiwan in the electronics and auto electronics field and there could be opportunities for Indian industry to collaborate or source with local manufacturers. He said, “The Taiwan auto industry is experiencing a major slowdown. Yet the industry is talking about sustainable mobility solutions — electric cars, hybrids and fuel cell technology. They are also working on emission regulations to match Euro 4 levels.”

Meanwhile, Indian automotive lighting equipment exhibitors Neolite ZKW and Jagan Lamps displayed their range of products in a bid to clinch new deals. Neolite ZKW claims to have the largest range of automobile lighting products in South / South East Asia. Its product range comprises of 1,500 items such as headlights, fog lamps, work lamps, auxiliary lamps, side indicators, roof lamps, front grills, and other products for the international and domestic markets. Both companies said that the quality of trade visitors was of a high standard.

Some of the major displays included the Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium, TYC Brother Industrial, E-Lead Electronic, Shinex, and Mintron. We take a look at some exhibitors.

The Neolite ZKW joint venture claims to be India's largest exporter of automotive lighting products, supplying to 90 countries worldwide. It is also the preferred OEM supplier to 30 vehicle manufacturers both in India and abroad. These customers include Tata Motors, Eicher, Maruti Suzuki, Ford, Swaraj Mazda, Force Motors, Volvo, JCB and others.

Sanjay Jain, vice-president – marketing, Asia, Australia and Africa, Neolite ZKW, claims such events are a good platform for clicking deals and expanding a company's presence. According to Jain, “We have been a regular participant at such international events. So far, this show too has been beneficial for us.”

The company showcased its product range, which comprises of at least 1,500 products; almost 250 of them are ECE-certified and SAE/DOT-compliant. They include headlamps, tail-lamps, corner lamps, side indicators, signal lamps, auxiliary lamps, front grills and various plastic and sheet metal automotive components.

Neolite ZKW comprises four different units located in and around Delhi. The company works in conjunction with car, truck, trailer and two-wheeler manufacturers in providing them with total solutions for their automotive lighting requirements.

Jagan Lamps, a 100 percent export-oriented unit which makes H4 halogen lamps, displayed its entire product range. The company, which has its facility in Haryana, is capable of manufacturing H4, H1, H3, H7, and M5/HS1 motorcycle halogen bulbs.

The facility has an installed capacity of 8.5 million halogen lamps. According to Ashish Aggarwal, technical director, “Our clients are mostly based in markets like Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific. The major ustomers are supermarket chains and aftermarket distribution houses. We hope to expand our presence.”

The Taiwan Automotive Research Consortium (TARC) was the hub of activity at the show. The stand showcased new technology including the EV-Buggy racer, ITRI electric scooter, distributive lighting system for vehicle headlamps, automated parking system, besides other new products meant for the local market. According to Larry NT Chang, deputy division director, Industrial Technology Research Institute, “We have developed the perfect solution for a pollution-free vehicle. The EV-Buggy racer is a small and low-speed electric vehicle. The fact that huge number of people live centered around large urban areas means that most people don’t need to travel long distances to get what they need. Our other technologies too are useful and meant for the domestic market.”

This company produces a comprehensive aftermarket lamp line in addition to design and manufacture of lamps for two- and four-wheeler OEMs in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

In India it operates in association with Minda Industries and is known as Minda TYC Automotive. Through its partner in India, it caters to companies like Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki, M&M and also Volkswagen for the new Polo. According to Carlos Ting, sales vice-presient, TYC Brother Industrial, “We are already a global player in the lighting arena. Now we are keen to enter other segments and could do this with the help of our partners in different countries.”

E-Lead Electronics' product line-up ranges from car infotainment, telecommunication to a car electronic control system. The company is making an effort to expand overseas. In Taiwan it focuses on the supply of standard equipment and aftersales services to auto makers.

E-Lead entered the international auto market in 1988 when it partnered Honda, Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Suzuki, and Daimler-Chrysler. It continues to look for a strategic alliance to increase its competitiveness and consolidate its markets. This month senior company officials are slated to visit India.

Shinex Electronic Industries is a light emitting diode (LED) application design and manufacturing firm specialising in LED for automotive electronics.

It provides total solution and service for customers requiring LED application related to OEM products. The firm displayed its latest LED head-up displays, as well as its technology innovation for aftermarket automotive products.

Mintron is known for its camera technology that has a role to play in vehicle surveillance. The company showcased its products that help enhance vehicle safety requirements, increase recognition of objects and minimise traffic accidents. Its front view camera is meant for distance warning system, obstacle detection, and frontward monitoring/warning and lane departure warning, while the side view camera is for lane change assistance, blind spot warning system and side pre-crash active safety. The rear view camera has its special role in parking assistance, pedestrian detection and distance warning.

All in all, the AMPA & AutoTronics Taipei Show was a well-organised affair, making visiting different stalls and segments a rather pleasurable experience. It proved to be a discerning marketplace for both exhibitors and business visitors, all of whom are looking out for new business opportunities in a world racked by dwindling orders and a cash crunch. For the Indian exhibitors and visitors, it was an opportunity to explore business potential in a growing market like Taiwan and the Asia-Pacific region.
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