Sandhar-Amkin, a partnership between the Gurgaon-based Sandhar Technologies and Amkin Group, which is a sister company from the promoters of Delhi-based Autofit, a seatings, wheel and handlebar assembly supplier to the two-wheeler segment, is eyeing big gains from the promising space of helmets, given that safety regulations are increasingly driving their mandatory usage in the Indian market.
The 50:50 JV which came into existence in end-2017 is today ready with its first set of two 2-wheeler rider helmets promising high quality and better affordability.The 50:50 JV which came into existence in end-2017 is today ready with its first set of three to-wheeler rider helmets promising high quality and better affordability. Both Sandhar and Amkin have invested an equal sum of Rs 12.5 crore into the project which includes a two-million annual manufacturing capacity 'pilot factory’ in Manesar. It’s called a pilot because the company aims to stabilise its operations over the next two to three years before expanding into a new facility.
The two Mavox models – a full-face and an open-face helmet – are being offered in a price range of Rs 1,485 to Rs 3,000 in a total of four variants. The company will be launching a motocross helmet in the next month. Its full-face and motocross helmets also sport an anti-pollution filter, claiming up to 90 percent efficacy, said Ayyushman Mehta, the 26-year-old managing director of Sandhar Amkin Industries.
Towards the festive season of the ongoing calendar, the company further plans to launch more entry-level products. “However, we do not want to be playing in the sub-Rs 1,000 category because then one starts compromising on safety, comfort and a lot of the hygiene factors important to a helmet. Our bracket will then start from Rs 1,100 and I believe that is also where the meat of the market lies. That is also the reason why we are finally entering the helmet business now and not five years ago,” added Mehta.
“We will definitely command a premium by bringing in some sort of reliability and an assurance on safety. We want to offer reliable and safe helmets, which are aesthetically appealing as well”, he added. The company is claiming its helmets to have a safety margin of more than 50 percent over what is required in the certification standards.
Sandhar Amkin has appointed close to 30 dealers all across India, which includes a mix of helmet retailers and bigger spare parts dealers as well. “We are not ignoring any market right now as we want to establish the brand,” said Mehta. The company will simultaneously be launching a fully e-commerce enabled platform for online retail of its products as well.
Finding the right tech and designs
“It all started with an idea and everything had to be built. And, that's the reason why all of 2018 went in finding the right technology and designs (from Europe),” said Mehta.
While the core team also visited a number of helmet plants in China, Korea, Japan and Europe and were on the verge of signing a few technical collaborations, the Indian market not being mature enough for some of the major players abroad to be convinced about eyeing large volumes with their higher specification products, kept them at bay. The company has been able to source ready designs from Europe and the technology (moulds) from China and Taiwan.
With the organised helmet market pegged at 10 million units annually, Sandhar Amkin aims to reach full capacity over the next three years, which would also give it a 15-20 percent share of the organised sector. “When we near utilising this facility completely, we will be looking at investing into a bigger plant and in Gujarat or Chennai, so that we are closer to the shore and can export in bigger numbers as well,” said Mehta.
The helmets are being completely locally produced in India, with only the front visor being imported from China. Injection moulding is in-house with the injection moulded shells coming in from Sandhar Technology's own plant in the same region. The company is also in talks with major OEMs including Hero MotoCorp, TVS Motor Co and Suzuki Motorcycle India to eye direct sales to these manufacturers in the country.
“Export is something we want to target very aggressively alongside catering to the domestic market,” he added.
While Sandhar Amkin will start exporting the three products to the neighbouring markets immediately, it aims to ship a new range of products by contract manufacturing for a European brand after eight-ten months of operations.
The helmets will be sold in Latin America, Africa and some of the value conscious European markets, according to Mehta.
The four variants come priced as mentioned below:
Mavox OX (single visor) - Rs 1,485
Mavox OX (dual visor) - Rs 1,650
Mavox FX (solid) - Rs 2,400
Mavox FX (graphic) - Rs 3,000