‘India is and will continue to play a significant role for BorgWarner going forward’: Christopher Lanker, BorgWarner

Christopher Lanker, Vice President and General Manager Asia, BorgWarner Emissions, Thermal and Turbo Systems spoke exclusively with Autocar Professional about the company's global and India plans to grab a larger chunk of the electric and internal combustion engine market.

By Amit Vijay M calendar 01 Mar 2023 Views icon12448 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
 ‘India is and will continue to play a significant role for BorgWarner going forward’: Christopher Lanker, BorgWarner

India is important for BorgWarner’s global strategy and the Tier 1 supplier has made strong inroads in the Indian internal combustion engine (ICE) market and also the electric vehicle (EV) space.

In this exclusive interview, Christopher Lanker, Vice President and General Manager Asia BorgWarner Emissions, Thermal and Turbo Systems, talked about the company’s plans to increase their market share in India and at the global level.

Lanker, who has been looking after the firm's interest in Asia Pacific since 2017 said that in the alternative fuel space, India is a promising market to introduce the latest technologies in the field of hydrogen-based applications for all vehicle categories.

The BorgWarner research and development team in Blois, France has developed a combustion hydrogen demo vehicle as its engineering team converted a four-cylinder 1.5-liter GDi engine completely to an H2ICE vehicle. Such advancements will be made available in India as per OEMs’ needs.

As of now, BorgWarner’s fuel injection system for combustion-powered hydrogen vehicles as well as products in the electrification and internal combustion engine products have found increasing acceptance by OEMs, Lanker said.

He added that domestic and global OEMs based in the country are looking up to BorgWarner as a single window supplier for their multiple technological needs in alternative fuels, EVs as well as ICE from their global product portfolio of offerings.

Can you help us understand BorgWarner's strategy for the Indian market?
As part of our India strategy, we stand committed to supporting our existing customers as per their individual needs.

If you look at the Indian environment broadly, the main challenge for electric mobility is the evolving infrastructure to transition to a full-scale e-mobility scenario. 

Having said that, the overall ecosystem is getting stronger and we are here to support India's shift to cleaner mobility as the market demand shifts to innovative electrification products.

India is and will continue to play a significant role for BorgWarner going forward.  

In India, we expanded our operations by opening up our second plant in Kakkalur (Chennai) for our variable cam timing operations. We also announced the opening of two new tech centres in Bengaluru.

At the Auto Expo, we have seen strong interest from both legacy and new-age OEMs for our technologies such as high voltage eFan, the high voltage coolant heater, battery packs, charging stations, inverters and integrated drive modules as well.

Our current focus lies on expanding and strengthening our electric vehicle portfolio, as per our electrification strategy ‘Charging Forward.’ 

Which technologies on the EV Electrification side that you showcased at Auto Expo got the maximum interest from the OEMs?
We were recently awarded a high-voltage coolant heater business by an Indian OEM.

At the Auto Expo, we showcased a wide range of products including battery systems, charging stations, electric motors, integrated drive modules, and power electronics.

As said earlier, our high voltage coolant heaters have received a very good response with strong interest coming up for the battery cold plates and power electronic coolers.

Alongside our electrification products OEMs also got to see the advancements made in conventional technologies like our chain timing systems and variable cam timing systems.

On the advanced combustion products, can you share the roadmap to introducing highly efficient hybrid technology?
On the hybridisation side due to the very strict emission regulations implemented by the Indian government, hybridisation, and electrification have become increasingly important for BorgWarner. 

A highly efficient hybrid vehicle needs both advanced combustion as well as electrified products. 

At BorgWarner, we can deliver both to our customers, but globally speaking our current focus lies on pure battery electric applications.

For India, the exhaust gas recirculation products that we manufacture in Manesar are crucial for efficient hybridisation. 

But of course, we also have a broad portfolio of electrification technologies to support hybridisation demands and we are in constant contact with our customers to have the right solutions ready for them and add more products to efficient hybrid technologies.

You have recently announced the spin-off of the Fuel Systems and Aftermarket business units. Why did BorgWarner decide to make this change to the organisation?
Since announcing our ‘Charging Forward’ strategy, we have been clear on our expectation to execute $3.5B in dispositions by 2025.

Following a comprehensive review of alternative disposition strategies, our board and management team, with the help of industry-leading advisors, concluded that separating the businesses by a spin-off would maximise value for our shareholders.

As we’ve executed our strategy, we believe it’s clear that our EV business is accelerating and that we have strong momentum, with more than $3.1 billion in booked organic revenue in 2025 in addition to the $900 million in EV-related revenue we have acquired or announced an agreement to acquire.

We’d also note that for the new company’s assets, we’ve achieved significant operational and segment margin improvement, despite the challenging industry volume environment.

We are confident that each business, even our India operations, would have the market leadership and operational excellence to pursue its respective strategies on a standalone basis and deliver more value for our customers and shareholders. 

Would Borg Warner be looking at mergers and acquisitions to meet the growing demand for EVs and ICE in India?
Our acquisition and disposition activities are not inherently linked as our acquisitions are funded primarily by existing liquidity and cash generation of the business, not by dispositions from our portfolio. We are continuing to run our business, and as part of that, will continue to consider both organic and inorganic growth opportunities to create value for our shareholders.

As we move ahead, we will continue to pursue acquisitions that strengthen our electrification capabilities and accelerate our transition to win in the EV marketplace, consistent with the mergers and acquisitions targets we outlined as part of our ‘Charging Forward’ strategy.

Why has Borg Warner decided to retain the turbo assets in its portfolio which could be much more valuable as a separate, standalone company?
Our board and management team, with the help of industry-leading advisors, conducted a comprehensive review of our assets in determining the transaction perimeter for the separation and concluded that separating the businesses as we've announced would maximise value for our shareholders.

Strategically, the turbo assets we’re retaining, provide our customers with access to critical technologies, allowing us to maintain our leading position as a preferred supplier throughout each customer’s transition to EV.

Our turbo assets also enjoy strong product leadership, have an attractive mid-term growth profile, and have leading margins, resulting in solid cash generation.

We believe these assets will provide significant financial benefits to BorgWarner as we continue to invest in growing our EV business.

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