Exclusive: Gabriel India eyes greenfield expansion in South India in FY2025

The Anand Group company, which has seen a notable uptick in its supplies of suspension parts to the passenger vehicle segment, is gearing to serve future demand growth from domestic and overseas markets, with a new plant, its eighth in India.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 06 Sep 2023 Views icon11066 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Gabriel India, the flagship company of the multi-faceted Anand Group, is eyeing greenfield expansion for its passenger vehicle and two-wheeler suspension components. The company, which is currently in a phase of land acquisition, is exploring setting up a new plant in South India to be ready to cater to the growing requirements from both the domestic and overseas markets.

The new facility, likely to be commissioned in FY2025, will become the eighth domestic plant of the Indian suspension systems major, which has seen a notable uptick in its passenger vehicle market share from 22 percent to 30 percent in the last couple of years.

In an exclusive interaction with Autocar Professional, Manoj Kolhatkar, Managing Director, Gabriel India, said: “We are looking to set up a new plant that will cater to both passenger vehicles and two-wheelers, along with a little bit of backward integration, particularly in the form of in-house castings for our front fork outer tubes.”

Manoj Kolhatkar, MD, Gabriel India: "We are presently in the phase of land acquisition. The new plant in South India will see SoP in FY2025."

“While we are presently in the phase of land acquisition, the new plant in South India will see the start of production in FY2025,” he revealed. At present, the company has seven plants – Khandsa (Haryana), Chakan (Maharashtra), Nashik (Maharashtra), Hosur (Tamil Nadu), Sanand (Gujarat), Parwanoo (Himachal Pradesh) and Dewas (Madhya Pradesh) – which supply locally manufactured suspension components to leading OEMs across vehicle categories.

Anticipating further growth in its volumes, the company is also undertaking brownfield expansion presently and has already initiated projects at its Khandsa and Chakan facilities. Gabriel India is investing Rs 30 crore into each of the two plants in FY2024 to strengthen manufacturing capacities for future demand. 

Gabriel India's state-of-the-art two-wheeler technology centre in Hosur, Tamil Nadu focuses on development, testing and validation of shock absorbers for motorcycles and scooters.

FOUR-PRONGED GROWTH STRATEGY

Gabriel India, which recorded revenue of Rs 2,972 crore in FY2023 (FY2022: Rs 2,322 crore / +27%), is adopting a four-pronged strategy to fulfil its future growth ambition of being among the Top 5 suspension system makers globally. While it is bullish on the sustained demand for vehicles in the domestic market, which emerged as the world’s third-largest passenger vehicle market by overtaking Japan last year, Gabriel India also aims to grow its exports as global OEMs increasingly consider reducing their dependence on China after Covid.

“We have an outlander vision of being amongst the Top 5 shock absorber manufacturers in the world. Our strategy is based on four building blocks – domestic leadership, exports, M&As, and technology – which will help us achieve our goal,” said Kolhatkar. The company is particularly keen to foray into the European passenger vehicle market with its semi-active suspension systems, which are currently being developed with a renewed focus on technology that forms the third enabling ingredient of its growth story.

NEW TECHNOLOGY CENTRE IN EUROPE

Gabriel India has opened a brand-new technology centre in Belgium, Europe, with an aim to leverage the expertise of its resources to develop these advanced suspension systems, which promise good demand from such mature markets.

“We are looking at a global play with semi-active suspension systems because we believe we will be able to offer a frugally-engineered product that offers high value. Our products are under development and will be ready by FY2025. We are currently engaging with customers in the two-wheeler and passenger vehicle segments in Europe and India for the semi-active suspension systems,” added a confident Kolhatkar.

High level of automation in manufacturing to achieve high standards of quality and consistency. Gabriel India currently has 70 robots across its seven plants.

The recent addition of the European technology centre – Gabriel European Engineering Centre (GEEC) in Belgium – further strengthens Gabriel India’s position to tap into future growth opportunities. The company’s expat Chief Technical Advisor – Koen Reybrouck – who comes with over three decades of experience in the suspension domain is leading this innovation centre, which is tasked with the design and development of its semi-active suspension technology.

The centre will also coordinate with Gabriel’s two engineering centres back home in Chakan and Hosur, and will co-create future-ready solutions. “While we have an expertise and know-how on suspension products for India, the technology is globally moving in a completely different direction of electronic suspensions. That is why we realised that there is some knowledge lying elsewhere, and we needed to bring it into our fold,” said Kolhatkar.

“Listening to our customers has been the biggest driver for our technological innovation, and growth. The space of active suspensions is evolving globally, and with our expertise on the requirements for the Indian road conditions, we plan to introduce such technologically-advanced solutions for the domestic market as well,” he signed off on an optimistic note.

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