Spark Minda to accelerate growth by transforming into full systems solutions provider

The Rs 5,000 crore Spark Minda Group, which is betting big on the growing premiumisation and electrification of vehicles across segments, aims to shift gear from being a traditional components supplier.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 12 Jan 2023 Views icon9555 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Noida-based Spark Minda Group, which has registered strong growth of about 25-28% in the second quarter of FY2023 in its domestic business, aims to accelerate growth and revenues in the coming years with the premiumisation of various product lines it offers.

The Group’s flagship company – Minda Corporation – is currently adapting to the rapid transformation in the automotive industry. It has sharpened its focus on technology and innovation, particularly in electronics which will form the foundation of its vision to transform into a full-systems solutions provider from a traditional components supplier.

The company sees premiumisation of its key product lines such as locks for two- and four-wheelers, door handles as well as instrument clusters for passenger vehicles giving a fillip to revenues in the coming years. While the traditional mechanical key is increasingly giving way to keyless-entry key fob systems in both passenger cars and two-wheelers, the Spark Minda Group is also seeing significant innovation in the form of development of remote, mobile-based vehicle accessibility solutions.

Similarly, the analogue driver instrument cluster is metamorphosising into a full-digital unit that displays myriad vehicle attributes by getting integrated with the vehicle body-control module to tap into critical vehicle information from a driver’s standpoint.

More value per vehicle, per OEM

Minda Corporation’s kit value-per OEM is expected to grow by 1.2 to 1.3 times soon, and resultantly  its revenue stream is likely to increase by up to four times considering the higher price of the company’s advanced technology components that are already seeing application in various vehicles.

Hero Vida V1 e-scooter uses Spark Minda's remote-technology based locks, designed and developed in-house at the company’s R&D centres.

For instance, Hero MotoCorp’s new Vida V1 electric scooter as well as Ola Electric’s S1 and S1 Pro e-scooters are equipped with Minda’s smart, remote-technology based locks, which have been designed and developed in-house at the company’s R&D centres in Pune and Bengaluru and are protected by 21 patents. What’s more, the solution is also being exported to Italy’s Piaggio since the past three years.

“Technology and innovation are going to be our key focus areas as we increasingly look at premiumisation of our products and also add more electronics-based offerings in our portfolio,” said Aakash Minda, executive director, Spark Minda group, told Autocar Professional in an exclusive conversation. 

Strengthening tech capabilities

To augment its electronics capabilities, the company has recently entered into a few JVs like the one with Korea’s Daesung Eltec for localised ADAS solutions for both two- and four-wheelers, or Korea’s Infac for in-built GPS micro-antennae solutions, and Gurgaon-based Loconav to offer full-stack vehicle telematics solutions for various vehicle segments. It has also acquired 26% stake in Bengaluru-based EV charging solutions provider EVQPoint.

“We have also expanded our facilities in terms of electronics manufacturing, as well as the testing and validation capabilities. We are strengthening our teams on the technology and innovation front and have started a styling studio at our design centre in Pune where engineers are focusing on premiumisation of our products in terms of their styling, surface finishing, personalisation, and individualisation as per customer requirements,” he added.

While it intends to democratise ADAS features starting with cost-effective around-view monitors (360-degree cameras) in mid-level cars such as B+ and C-segment passenger vehicles by FY2026, Minda Corporation is also focusing on EV components in the up to 3kW and up to three-wheeler vehicle categories. It is already supplying DC-DC convertors, motor controllers, battery management systems and chargers to various EV OEMs in the two- and three-wheeler categories.

To strengthen its ground on new technologies, the company is also stepping up its R&D focus and is expanding its capabilities at its two technical centres in Pune and Bengaluru. While its R&D investments are currently pegged at 2% its annual turnover, there is also a kaizen mantra at work. “It is my personal focus to increase our R&D spend towards the premiumisation of our products, come up with more advanced technologies, file more patents and disrupt our own products,” said Minda.

Zooming in on advanced technologies

Narrowing down its focus on future-oriented products, the Group has streamlined its operations by consolidating three subsidiaries under one business vertical – Advanced Technologies. The business unit is now being led by former NXP Semiconductors India head Sanjay Gupta, who took charge as the president and CEO of Spark Minda Green Mobility (SMGM) and Minda Instruments Ltd (MIL) In November 2022.

Gupta, who has over two-and-a-half decades of work experience in the semiconductor and electronics domain, has been leading the charge at the Spark Minda Group by taking profit-and-loss ownership of the two subsidiaries which are focused to innovate and deliver on the rapidly transforming customer requirements. While the Group’s EV-related innovations and products will fall under the aegis of SMGM, the digital instrument cluster and telematics development is part of MIL.

“Mechanical and basic instrument clusters are moving towards complete digital clusters with human-machine interface (HMI), and head-up display, and the whole space is slated to transform into an advanced e-cockpit. All areas which are thriving from an electronics and semiconductor perspective are part of my role and responsibilities and I will leverage the domain knowledge in chips and electronics in system level software enablement, functional safety as well as profit-and-loss management,” Gupta told Autocar Professional.

The business vertical ensures that there is synergy in terms of scale in innovation, automotive supplies, as well as engineering efficiency. “It will be the fastest growth engine for the company as the global automotive industry is undergoing a significant electronics transformation. Our aim will be to beat the industry by a healthy margin and we are confident that the vertical will grow at a much higher level compared to the market,” Gupta added.

While there are dedicated engineering teams for innovating and developing advanced technology products, Spark Minda caters to key customers in the automotive industry ranging from Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Bajaj Auto, and Ather Energy. The company plans to build the right products to cater to the requirements of its customers as they transition to futuristic products in the coming years.

With the transition to EVs taking firmer shape with every month and most IC engine OEMs diversifying into zero-emission mobility, component suppliers like the Spark Minda Group, which is well placed to capitalise on future demand across a host of product lines, are set to see sparkling growth in the future.

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