2013 Automotive Lighting Special - Adarsh M Gupta, director, Autolite India & MD, Autolite Manufacturing

2013 Automotive Lighting Special - Adarsh M Gupta, director, Autolite India & MD, Autolite Manufacturing

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 04 Sep 2013 Views icon2847 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
2013 Automotive Lighting Special - Adarsh M Gupta, director, Autolite India & MD, Autolite Manufacturing

As your business is predominantly export-driven, what is your forecast?
We have a network of distributors in over 55 countries worldwide. About 60 percent of our business comes from the Americas and Europe. We are now focusing on the Middle East and Africa. Autolite is also looking at business from the aviation sector as part of our export basket besides Indian railways, the metro as well as LED lighting.
Do you plan to establish an overseas assembly unit to facilitate your overseas business?
We are expanding our business in US through our warehouse and marketing products in Mexico, USA and Canada to meet just-in-time requirements of the aftermarket. We have floated Autolite Shanghai Company in China during this fiscal and are awaiting export and investment approvals from the China government to start operations. We are also at an advanced stage of acquiring a Chinese plant near Shanghai at a cost of around Rs 10 crore. We are in talks with investors for funding. If it does not materialise, we plan to set up our own assembly unit in an SEZ area. We will provide the dies and moulds, handle assembly activity and the final inspection and will outsource some of the manufacturing processes. We will also source local components as they are of good quality and lower priced than those in India. The China plant will make headlamps and turn signal lamps for the aftermarket for use in Ford, Fiat and Mercedes-Benz cars. From China, the lamps will be exported to Dubai where the consignment will be consolidated along with the containers from India for supply to the global market. At present, we have a subsidiary, Autopal Inc, in Dallas, US, and an office in China.
How has Autolite’s automotive lighting business grown and how do you see the business panning out over the next 5-10 years?
India’s auto lighting business is estimated at around Rs 3,000 crore. Currently it is stable with no significant growth expected this year. We are sure it will grow in the next 10 years if fuel prices are stable and if road infrastructure improves. We have maintained a growth of around 20 percent over the last three years and are expecting to grow 50-60 percent in 2014-15 as we have set up a plant at Pantnagar. We have a turnover of Rs 250 crore. We expect to grow 25 percent annually, going forward.
What have been the most significant developments over the last year?
We have won a large order for multi-surface aerodynamic headlamps from an Indian OEM. We have bagged a large order from Tata Motors to supply high-tech headlamps for the facelifted Ace. Since the order is worth Rs 400 crore, we have set up a new facility at Pantnagar at an investment of Rs 20 crore funded via bank loans. We are also coming up with a preferential issue of Rs 1 crore on September 14. The Pantnagar facility goes on stream from September 7 and will manufacture headlamps and signal lamps. We have also acquired orders from Volvo Eicher and Eicher Polaris for complete lighting kits. For Eicher Polaris, supplies should begin in early 2014 from our Jaipur facility. For VE Commercial Vehicles, we will supply lighting kits for new products including a small CV similar to the Ace. We will also supply halogen bulbs for Bajaj Auto's entire motorcycle range. We are also adding new halogen bulbs for exports and the local aftermarket.
Is Autolite looking at any technology tie-up, joint ventures or acquisition?
We are open to any technological tie-ups. We offer complete lighting solutions including headlamps, tail-lamps, side indicator lamps, halogen bulbs and LEDs. Negotiations are currently underway with Suzuki and Honda Motorcycle for supply of halogen bulbs.
What are the major trends in the 2-, 3- and 4-wheeler lighting space?
India is coming up with many new models that will have new-generation lighting systems like adaptive front lighting systems, LED headlights, dynamic bend lighting, daytime running lamps, cornering lamps, night vision halogen bulbs, tail- lamps with lighting guides and rear warning lamps. Two-wheelers will soon have LED lights. LEDs are expensive but costs will fall as their use spreads. SHOBHA MATHUR

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