'Our major investments this year will be in LEDs and new automatic halogen bulb lines.'

Amit Mahipal Gupta, Jt MD of Autolite India (a part of the Autopal-MPG Group) speaks on the company’s future growth roadmap, expansion of operations in China, and why it is betting big on the LED business.

Shobha Mathur By Shobha Mathur calendar 29 May 2016 Views icon9022 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
'Our major investments this year will be in LEDs and new automatic halogen bulb lines.'

Amit Mahipal Gupta, joint managing director of Autolite India, which is part of the Autopal-MPG Group, speaks to Shobha Mathur on the company’s future growth roadmap, expansion of operations in China, and why it is betting big on the LED business. 

Autolite was planning to tap the Middle East and African markets. What is the current status and how much revenue accrues from the Americas and EU?

Autolite has fared well in the Middle East and African aftermarkets in both auxiliary lamps and work lamps. Sales in the Africa region contributed 21.84 percent and in the Middle East 28.96 percent of the total export sales of Rs 45 crore in the last fiscal. Our share in the Americas is 23.84 percent and in the European Union it stands at 25.36 percent.

Are you looking to further expand your presence in the Chinese market?

With the support of our China subsidiary Autolite Shanghai Company, our operations in China are growing and the company is making further investments in furthering lighting technology for supplying additional products to local customers. Autolite is also in talks with a few other MNCs in China where our lighting systems will be rebranded and sold by them. We are optimistic of finalising the business in the near future.

Autolite recently signed a 50:50 joint venture with Wenton Corporation of China for manufacturing hi-tech capital goods. Our partners have now obtained all the necessary approvals from the Chinese administration for investing in a JV company AishiWenton Technology (P) Ltd in Jaipur. It will be set up in June and attract an investment of Rs 100 crore over five years.

In the first year an investment of Rs 12 crore will be made through a mix of internal accruals and debt in a new manufacturing facility for producing fire plasma surface treatment machines, robotic IR and UV curing coating lines, advanced assembly lines with online vision inspection systems, online test and adjustment assembly machines, clean room systems, laser-based welding systems, ultrasonic welding systems and waste air handling systems. The target customers will be industries in the sphere of automotive components, renewable energy, aviation, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, defence manufacturing, semiconductors and LEDs.

At present, we already produce machines, fixtures and jigs at our existing plant in Jaipur. Now with this JV, this product line will expand further and both the partners will bring to the table their individual expertise in machine technology. In addition, Wenton has an existing customer base in India that we will tap. The MoU was signed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was visiting China.

Can you detail the roadmap for the future in terms of new products, technologies, investmentsand growth plans?

LED is the focus area for the Autopal-MPG Group. The company has already invested in LED technology and is updating and increasing its production capabilities. We were the first to launch composite daytime running lamps with headlamps in the commercial vehicle segment for the global aftermarket. We also have a wide range of LED work lamps, LED turn signal lamps and LED marker lamps.

New products will be coming shortly, including a new range of  LED headlamps, LED work lamps, LED spot lamps, LED bar lamps, LED turn signal lamps and LED bulbs.

Meanwhile, Autolite is targeting 22 new countries this year, for example Ghana and Nigeria in Africa, Mexico and LATAM countries for four-wheelers and the CV segment in phase 1. The Indian government has been focusing on these regions to support Indian exporters. The company is also eyeing a larger chunk of the business from the two-wheeler segment in the aftermarket after its success from its existing two-wheeler OEM business.

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The main focus in the coming five years will be on growing the OEM business in the passenger car market. At present Autolite accounts for 40 percent of the OEM business with the balance coming from the aftermarket and our target is to increase the OE share to 50 percent going forward.

Three months ago, Autolite set up a technical centre in Pune (Maharashtra) for raising its technical expertise to match the growing vehicle manufacturing needs of the country. It is a design centre and also undertakes some development work in sync with existing Indian customers. It has five engineers.

This year the company’s major investments will be in LEDs and new automatic halogen bulb lines. Autolite is expanding its technology and production capacity in these two areas with a new halogen line to be set up at our Jaipur plant. It will step up the capacity by 50,000 lamps per day, adding to the existing 60,000 lamps made daily.

In LEDs we currently have a production capacity of 8,000-10,000 LEDs per day at Jaipur but have utilised only 50 percent of the capacity. We are also looking to step up this capacity by adding an additional line for 12,000 LEDs daily. While an investment of Rs 12 crore will be made in LEDs, another Rs 10 crore will go towards upping the halogen bulb capacity. Overall, we will invest Rs 35 crore in testing and new capacity both at Jaipur and at Pune during this fiscal.

Autopal-MPG is targeting a revenue of Rs 310 crore, up from the current Rs 250 crore. Autolite India will contribute Rs 170 crore during this fiscal. At present, it accounts for Rs 135 crore.  

What has been the most significant development in your company’s automotive lighting business, especially over the past year? How do you see the business panning out over the next 5-10 years?

We have displayed our technological strength in LED products to various vehicle manufacturers at the Auto Expo in New Delhi which resulted in an overwhelming response from all market segments. We have bagged two prestigious LED-OEM projects in the commercial vehicle segment.

With the investments made in plastic technology at our Pantnagar plant, which was earlier making sheet metal, and at the Pune Technical Centre, many new OEM projects are in the pipeline, which will enable Autolite to garner a larger share of the global OEM business.

Is Autolite looking at any technology tie-up, JVs or acquisitions to build its capabilities and business in the auto lighting space?

Autolite is open to receiving any such offers in automotive lighting and other automotive components.

What are the major developments and trends in the 2-, 3- and 4-wheeler lighting space currently?

The global automotive lighting market is projected to grow to $ 30 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 7.22 percent. The market is driven by increasing vehicle production, technological advancements in the field of automotive lighting and increasing concern over safety while driving at night.

Therefore, technologies like adaptive lighting including dynamic bend light and a glare-free high beam are gaining in significance. Also, due to increased consumer preference for luxury and comfort, interior lighting is also gaining focus.

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