Lumax shines bright with orders for new cars, bikes

Lumax Industries has bagged orders for a new volume Maruti car, Honda Brio saloon, the GM-SAIC MPV and also a slew of bikes.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 02 May 2012 Views icon14280 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Lumax shines bright with orders for new cars, bikes
Lumax Industries is gearing up to launch a slew of products for the small passenger car segment with Maruti Suzuki’s new small car leading the way. To roll out by end-2012, the small car will be positioned below the Alto to bridge the gap created by the exit of the Maruti 800 from BS-IV markets. The new addition to the Maruti Suzuki stable will sport the latest styling in its lighting, the USP being more light output in a small package for a B-segment car.

Lumax will produce the headlamps and tail-lights for the Maruti small car at its newly constructed Bawal, Haryana plant. These are expected to be supplied to Maruti's Gurgaon facility where the small car is likely to be produced in units of 300,000 per annum.

The headlamp will have an H4 halogen lamp as in the current Alto but the tail-lights will be styled differently in a linear shape and fitted with incandescent lamps. The interior lighting, roof lamps and indicator lights are expected to be carried over from the existing Alto.

Among other new orders bagged by Lumax are for Honda’s latest car platforms spawning the all-new Honda City and Jazz to be launched in 2014-15 and the new Brio saloon set to make its entry in 2013. While the Brio saloon will be fitted with regular tail-lamps supplied by Lumax, the Jazz will be provided both headlamps and tail-lamps, and the City is expected to get only headlamps as of now. Talks are still underway for the rear lights for the City, with a final agreement expected in a couple of months. The Jazz though is likely to sport light emitting diodes (LEDs) in its rear lights. Supplies for the various models will commence about a month before their production goes on stream.

The face-lifted Mahindra Verito (earlier known as the Logan) that will be launched around mid-2013 or in the third quarter will find a new styling for its headlamps and tail-lamps. Interestingly, the new CN100 MPV from the General Motors-SAIC stable to be launched by this year-end will also be fitted with Lumax headlamps and tail-lamps. While the headlamps will have normal halogen bulbs, the tail-lamps are expected to be longer and broader than the normal ones, emitting higher light output with greater use of plastics that will facilitate considerable lightweighting for the MPV.

While the lighting designs for the Honda and Maruti small car have been supported by Stanley Electric of Japan, Lumax’s joint venture partner, and developed in-house by the light maker, the GM MPV lighting solutions have been designed at the Pan-Asia Technical Automotive Centre (PATAC) of GM-SAIC in Shanghai, China.

In addition, the Tier-1 light manufacturer has bagged business for tail- lamps for the face-lifted version of the Toyota Etios saloon and Liva hatchback to be launched in 2013-14. The tail-lamps will sport the new multi-colour injection technology that will enhance the cars' aesthetic appeal.

In the two-wheeler segment, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India’s new motorcycle models (three to four) to be launched in 2013-14 in the popular 100 to 150cc range, one new model of Yamaha in a similar range to be unveiled around the same time, and a new Bajaj motorcycle to roll out later this year will be fitted with Lumax lighting, with these products currently under development. All these new orders are expected to result in revenues of around Rs 200 crore for the supplier.

With new technology trends in the lighting industry spearheading innovations in lighting solutions, and OEMs falling over themselves to introduce new styling and lighting products in upcoming platforms, LEDs in tail-lights and to a limited extent in headlights, projector headlights (with halogen bulbs), daylight running lamps and LEDs in interior lighting like reading lamps and door indicators are likely to replace existing conventional products in the market going forward, says Deepak Jain, senior executive director.

Lumax Industries has introduced a new generation of headlights with LEDs and projector functions as well as LEDs in interior lights and several programmes are under development stage in these genres for customers, he clarifies.

The main focus here is on using an advanced generation of electronicsin different product ranges.

Gunning for exports

While expanding its product basket locally, the Tier-1 supplier has also increased exports to Europe and UK by entering into the passenger car segment and successfully introduced its LED high mounted stop lamp (HMSL) for the Land Rover Discovery 4. It is also in discussions with major European and German passenger car and SUV manufacturers to increase its share of the export business over the next five years. Some prospective clients include Nissan UK and Jaguar Land Rover.



Lumax is targeting small lamps for the Nissan car and beefing up its business volumes with tractor maker John Deere in the US and as a Tier-2 supplier for Case New Holland in the UK via Truck-Lite of UK, a CV lighting manufacturer. John Deere and CNH will be supplied seven to eight different types of small lamps including cabin lights.

Cumulatively, these customers in North and South America, UK and Central Europe currently account for a business volume of US$ 10 million. The company is optimistic of generating business of US$ 20 million over the next five years with the increased export orders.

Jain says that the current business volume does not justify setting up an overseas production facility. However, a hike in export volumes would definitely tilt the scales in favour of an overseas branch that could include a sales office in the initial phase as well as an assembly unit later. Suitable locations could be either UK or Germany where the major OE clients are clustered.

Lumax already has a JV with Stanley Electric, a significant player in the area of vehicle lighting that facilitates access to the evolving technologies in automotive lighting for Indian customers. Besides, the Indian supplier has strategic partnerships for tooling in Korea and Taiwan that aim to boost its technical capabilities.

The company is also exploring both JVs and technical collaborations in Europe and Japan in components for passenger cars and two-wheelers as part of a diversification drive. This initiative will also increase its product portfolio and revenue base.

Last fiscal, Lumax Industries clocked a topline of Rs 1,800 crore of which automotive lighting contributed over Rs 1,000 crore, a growth of 12 percent over the previous year. The balance was generated by its parts business of gearshifts and sheet metal parts among others. The target for 2012-13 is double-digit growth of over 12 percent, riding on the back of expected recovery in the automotive industry. The targeted CAGR over the next five years is between 10 and 15 percent with new orders in its kitty. Jain expects the US$ 700 million OEM lighting market in India to grow rapidly with a CAGR of eight to 10 percent year-on-year over the next 10 years.

Banking on innovation

Meanwhile, most of the current R&D activities at Lumax revolve around multicolour injection, introducing LED base products, projector headlamps and daylight running lights. Lumax has designed and developed the complete set of the Mahindra XUV500's LED interior lighting and is developing similar products for other customers for their upcoming models, says Prem Pardasani, senior VP – business development & engineering.



However, he feels that going forward OEMs will adopt more LEDs for lighting purposes since incandescents convert less than 10 percent of the energy pumped into them into light, losing the rest as heat. In comparison, LEDs have some clear advantages like aesthetic appeal, slim size of lamp, are eco-friendly and fuel efficient due to their light weight that leads to a longer product life.

Jain admits that “LEDs are semiconductors, and like all solid-state technology, they are getting better and cheaper on a predictable curve, hence increase in demand will have a positive effect on the decline of price. This will facilitate B-segment cars to adopt LEDs in a bigger way." More advanced semiconductor light sources are expected to play an important role in future that could figure optical fibres as the next- generation light source for the lighting industry. Semi-conductor technology is similar to LEDs but generates higher output while consuming lower power. Contributing to it is customer preference for lighter products to increase fuel efficiency, with projector headlights in two-wheelers and more attractive styling demands.

OEMs expect suppliers to provide complete design and development solutions in order to minimise the risk of failure in upcoming launches. Hence the supplier is involved with the OEM from the vehicle design stage to optimisation of space, styling needs and actual designing. Development work is customer specific and based on the product specification ranging from a minimum period of eight months to two years for design and development of a new product.

Lumax provides lighting solutions across the board in both exterior and interior lighting, catering to all major OEMs in the domestic market ranging from four-wheelers, two-wheelers, commercial vehicles and farm equipment sectors. At present, it has eight production facilities in the country including its new units at Bawal for Maruti Suzuki, Haridwar for Hero MotoCorp and Bangalore that will go on stream this month to service Toyota and HMSI’s needs in the city. The Dharuhera plant caters to the needs of the Ritz, Alto, Wagon R and now the Ertiga tail-lamps.

The current production capacity will be adequate to meet the company’s requirements for the next two years, after which it may consider setting up a new plant in the south either at Chennai or at Bangalore for two-wheeler manufacturers who are firming up plans for setting up new production units in that region.

SHOBHA MATHUR
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