Brose looks to diversify its India product portfolio

The Indian arm of German automotive component major Brose Group plans to expand its product portfolio to fuel its mid-term growth. The five-year business plan (2016-2021) eyes a five-fold jump in the company's turnover.

Amit Panday By Amit Panday calendar 11 Jan 2016 Views icon14168 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Brose India Automotive Systems, the local arm of the 5.2 billion euro component supplier from Germany, plans to diversify its product portfolio to boost its business in the subcontinent. The company that started its operations in India (Pune) with its engineering centre in 2008 had shifted into a bigger manufacturing facility in Pune around April 2014, adding new production capacity and R&D capabilities such as testing, validation and prototyping.

In a recent conversation with Autocar Professional, Ashwani Aggarwal, president, Brose India, said that the company has localised its third product, a side door latch, this year.

“This year we are ready with the side door latch and also the latch mini module. This means that we can take full system responsibility. Window regulators and latches make the company a Tier 1 supplier. We have been diversifying in terms of new customers and products,” he said.

Brose is known to have started off its local manufacturing operations with the localisation of its window regulators for passenger cars in 2010-11. In 2012-13, it added seat height adjusters and worked towards aligning its products with its customer requirements and stabilising on orders.

“The company is a world market leader in almost all products that it manufactures and supplies. In India we make only three products at the moment. So there is a huge product line-up that we have behind us but we want to bring them to India in steps. By virtue of bringing new products we will grow, by bringing new products we will get new customers. We will also grow with our existing customers. We can leverage our global portfolio of products and expertise, and our association with the global automakers. Our engineering centre in India engages with our customers on a global scale,” added Aggarwal.

The company, which is also known as the world’s fifth-largest family-owned automotive supplier, designs and manufactures components under three product categories – vehicle doors and liftgates, seating systems and electric motors and drives.

It is currently based out of two locations in Pune – a manufacturing plant that commenced its operations in 2010-11, and an engineering centre, located close by. The company employs a headcount of more than 250 officials across both locations. 

Five-year plan

While the company continues to expand in terms of its capabilities and engineering resources, the senior management has drawn up a business plan for the next five years to fuel its scale of operations in India.

According to Aggarwal, Brose India is working towards a five-fold jump in its current turnover under its five-year business plan.

“We have set up a business plan (2016-2021) for ourselves for the next five years, within which we are aiming to multiply our current turnover by four to five times. It is to be understood that we have been operational for only three to four years in terms of manufacturing products locally. We are looking at our product and customer strategy, we are also analysing the future requirements for the local markets here, and we are focusing on safety products, comfort and lightweighting technologies,” said Aggarwal.

“Bringing the products under the electric motors and drives category from Brose’s global portfolio to India features in the 2016-2021 business plan,” confirmed Aggarwal.

Further, under the same plan, the company is also evaluating expansion of its current production capacity. This also includes the possibility of setting up another plant to accommodate Brose India’s medium-term production requirements.

“The current plant will not suffice for our projections under the business plan. We will start working in that direction soon. However, it would be too early to talk about it,” said Aggarwal.

Growing its India clientele base

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According to Brose India's chief, it currently supplies its products to Ford India, General Motors, Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Tata Motors and others. Brose India is also a Tier 2 component supplier to the industry; for example it supplies seat height adjusters to Lear Corporation, which in turn supplies seating systems to a host of passenger car companies.

“We have been investing every year in India in terms of manufacturing equipment, technology, testing and validation. We believe that we should bring in as much as local value-add not only by assembling parts but also by local engineering, which means design, simulation, electronics, testing and validation. That is the area where we are investing at the moment. We are also continuously investing in customer programs and that is taking us to the
next level,” explained Aggarwal.

According to him, Brose globally invests around 6-8 percent of its global turnover in its R&D operations (among the highest in terms of turnover-to-R&D-investment-ratio), and almost 10 percent of its global workforce is directly deployed in the development of its products and process technologies.

“Our focus has always been to engage with our customers from a very early stage so that we can provide them with cost optimised solutions that offer safety, comfort and lightweighting benefits,” he concluded. 

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