‘We expect to double our business in India in the next three to five years’: Ramon Sotomayor, CEO, Grupo Antolin
Chairman Ernesto Antolin, Ramon Sotomayor and CEO of automotive interior specialist Grupo Antolin spoke with Autocar Professional about the Indian market and how the Indian base is fast transforming into a key development hub for Grupo’s global office.
Grupo Antolin, the Spanish automotive interior specialist is planning to aggressively expand and transition to offer a complete Integrated Interior Solution in the country. A leader in the automotive headliner space in India with over 70 percent market share, Grupo sees potential to offer more high-tech products like the HMI or Human Machine Interface Products, ambient lighting and electronic parts for the growing domestic market and also to build exports volume.
In the month of November, the global chairman — Chairman Ernesto Antolin and Chief Executive Officer Ramon Sotomayor visited Pune to expand its office footprint.
What’s your view on the Indian market?
Ramon Sotomayor: India is amongst the fastest growing markets in the world and also for Grupo Antolin. We have a significant stake in the Indian market with 70 percent market share in the interior headliners. In terms of value, it may appear smaller, but in terms of penetration, it is quite significant. We have grown significantly over the last few years and we expect to double our business in India in the next three to five years.
We see Indian buyers moving up to more premium cars and that strengthens Grupo's position in the market. We bring in new technologies and with our global experience of delivering more intelligent integrated system solutions, we can do the same in India, which helps us double the business.
How do you intend to outpace market growth? Are you open to inorganic opportunities?
Ernesto Antolin: We are absolutely open to inorganic opportunities, but organically also we will continue to grow fast in the coming years. If I look at the world market, be it North America, Europe, China, Asia is where the future growth will come from and within Asia, it is India, where we are very well established. We would like to build our presence further, by not only adding clients but new products in the interior space.
Ramon Sotomayor: We always keep our eyes and ears open to grow. We are always listening. We have grown in India through organic and inorganic means and the approach will continue.
There are opportunities in the market that may approach us and there can also be areas of interest to us, which we may be looking for. Alternatively, we also hire experts to look for acquisition opportunities. These are multiple approaches to acquire new business and outpace the market.
Our workforce strength has touched 2,000 people. The quality of people has helped us grow faster. We believe we have a strong talent pool in India, very capable to grow organically.
What is your investment plan in India?
Ramon Sotomayor: We keep adding new product lines in our factory and we still have space in our factory to grow. We always see our new plant investment as a growth opportunity. We will keep investing in new plants, people, and capabilities.
Ernesto Antolin: India for us is like a technology showroom, we have got every technology here in Pune. We are working on more advanced technology than in Detroit or Europe, we sell electronic, human machine interfaces. We are doing a lot of software from India, like many other companies. We have developed a team here in Pune. That is why we need this new office to cater to the growth and attract the new talent in the country.
Any diversification plan beyond the headliner and how do you intend to deliver an intelligent integrated system solution supplier?
Ernesto Antolin: The customers need new materials that are lighter and sustainable. This is another opportunity for us and we see opportunity in value per car and as to how it is growing fast. It is amongst the fastest growing markets for us so far.
What about export potential from India?
Ramon Sotomayor: Headliners are too big to transport, but lighting products, electronics can be built further, and they are growing the fastest. Sun Visors are being exported in large numbers.
We see high competitiveness for technology products made out of India in the global marketplace, we will be looking at exporting lighting, electronics and technology products.
India's role is growing on the engineering front; the engineering skills are excellent. It is self-sufficient technology wise and they are exporting the know-how to the global operation. We see by 2025, the Indian engineering centre will contribute to the entire scope of engineering. We definitely have growth plans.
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