‘AMTs will evolve in India, both for cars and CVs.’

S Krishnakumar, Eaton’s president – Vehicle Group, Asia-Pacific, speaks to Sumantra B Barooah on the company’s outlook for the Asia-Pacific region and plans for India.

By Sumantra B Barooah calendar 03 Jun 2014 Views icon3355 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘AMTs will evolve in India, both for cars and CVs.’

S Krishnakumar, Eaton’s president – Vehicle Group, Asia-Pacific, speaks to Sumantra B Barooah on the company’s outlook for the Asia-Pacific region and plans for India.

What is your business outlook for the Asia-Pacific region?
Eaton perceives this as a growth region. For us, it is one of our emerging markets and a growth region. We can add a lot of value to our customers. We can get to our customers a lot of our new-generation products which are extremely useful in managing the power as we call it. That’s why we call ourselves a power management company. There’s a lot of potential, a lot of promise in this region.

When you talk about offering new products to your customers, which are the focus areas for Eaton in the emerging markets?
Technology is evolving in every field that we are working in. We are privy to all those technological changes that are happening. When I say newer products, it is primarily better technology products. For example, in valves, we have a situation where we can provide valves which are hollow valves filled with sodium which can sustain higher temperatures.
So, at every stage of our product, we are continuously working and upgrading it and trying to see how we can give the best product to our customer. New products also mean technologically advanced products, and also maybe products which are ideal to be adapted for Indian as well as Chinese and other conditions and other requirements.

Last year, Eaton’s global business grew 23 percent amidst challenges in various regions. How was the growth in the Asia-Pacific market?
We have grown well. There are a number of new programmes that have been added to our basket. We are so excited by looking at the various opportunities which we have in the region that we feel that there’s a lot of potential for Eaton to grow, and we are working on all those potentials in a very diligent way.

Is Eaton also looking at inorganic growth opportunities in the Asia- Pacific region?
We look at all opportunities. For us it is important to look at the various opportunities that exist in the region. I cannot pinpoint and say, “Okay, we have organic growth here and inorganic growth here,” but we have a very good basket of opportunities that is presented in front of us and we want to ensure that we pick the right ones.

In India, we are seeing an evolution in automotive technologies. How do you see the transformation of transmission technologies in India?
In the passenger vehicle market we are seeing the entry of AMTs (Automated Manual Transmissions) and it is very welcome. The kind of shift densities we have in the cities and the kind of traffic and infrastructure we have, the shift densities are bound to go higher. As a result, any AMT solution is going to add value and it is going to really help.
In the commercial vehicle sector also, we see this movement happening. We are working on a couple of programmes with our customers to see how we can introduce AMT in the CV segment because ultimately even for long-distance vehicles and other things, AMT adds value in the sense that we will be able to provide better fuel efficiency and a better cost of ownership as it improves the life of the clutch.
Overall, I see AMT as a product which will evolve in India, both on the passenger vehicle side as well as the CV side.

Supercharger technology is one of Eaton’s strengths. Are you working on entering the Indian market with this product?
The supercharger is a very strong prospect in India. It gives an opportunity for OEMs to downsize as well as downspeed an engine and get good power at the same time. It really helps in boosting power and is ideal for Indian conditions. We see a good many OEMs really getting interested in working on this technology and we are working with them.

Doesn’t Eaton see the Indian two-wheeler industry as a good opportunity to offer power management solutions?
It is an option. There are some products that we have for which we are working with the two-wheeler industry. We are trying to see how we can enter into that space. Certainly, wherever there’s a need for power and power transmission, we should be there.

What kind of solutions could Eaton provide to the two-wheeler industry?
These are fuel emission products and products which go into safety requirements for preventing any kind of unfortunate incidents like flaring up. There are products like rollover valves. There are other options also which we will evaluate.

Eaton hasn’t spoken much about solutions for electric vehicles in India. Is it because the market hasn’t evolved in India yet?
We are there elsewhere in the globe. We are also working on electric vehicles in China. There are options that are being looked into. We are looking at all markets. There are a lot of good possibilities which we are looking at.

There is some rearrangement of the growth stories in BRICS markets. How do you see the BRICS story going ahead?
Every country has gone through the various cycles. In India also, we have gone through the growth cycles. The cycle is bound to be there. We think the markets will bounce back and emerging markets will stay because the fundamentals in the emerging markets are still very strong.
The population is young in most of these countries. They need growth and they need mobility solutions and the vehicle penetration level is very less. The fundamentals in the economy will be driving that. Once that is happening, we will see growth. We are very positive that growth will happen in this region. We are well positioned in most of these markets and we are quite confident we will be able to support them.

This interview appeared in Autocar Professional’s June 1, 2014 issue http://bit.ly/1xaqiA8

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