After the past two difficult years, every industry has learned a common lesson – there will always be obstacles, but the journey is to move forward – Aaccept-Aadapt-Aadvancing. This also applies to the automotive industry, which is now gradually moving towards an upward trajectory.
The $57 billion (Rs 4,45,056 crore) auto components industry has faced almost every crisis – Covid-19, component and chip shortages, the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and all aftershocks are gradually returning to normal and each organization in their own ways manage a stronger return.
However, there are still different sets of challenges ahead – inflationary pressures on fuel prices, rising commodity prices and logistical challenges such as container prices also played a key role in the disruption. To add to the woes, major ports in Shanghai have been closed due to an outbreak of a new strain of Covid-19, says Spark Minda Group CEO Ashok Minda.
A Tier 1 supplier, Minda Corporation is one of the largest suppliers of components for the two- and three-wheeler, passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle segments worldwide. The $445 million (Rs 3,474 crore) group is known for manufacturing electronic and mechanical security systems, telematics, wiring harnesses and sensors, among others.
In an interaction with The Financial Express FE, Minda spoke about the automotive industry and the current challenges facing the industry nationally and globally. “To overcome these challenges, we have created a steering committee which is continuously monitoring the situation and taking the necessary steps to ensure that the delay in supply is kept to a minimum. Our effort remains one where we must not be the reason of the shutdown of our customers’ production lines,” says Minda.
The OEM’s objective for the current fiscal year is essentially to improve the core and strengthen the passenger vehicle offerings. The company has already embarked on the development of products such as the DC-DC converter and battery chargers for electric vehicles. In the future, the Minda Group aims to manufacture digital displays (7 inches and above) for the two-wheeler and passenger vehicle segment.
Aligning with what the future holds, all summits engage directly in the EV space. A separate entity called “Spark Minda Green Mobility” works with dedication in the field of electric vehicles.
“Our theme for FY23 is ‘Disrupt – Innovate – Lead’. Spark Minda leveraged several strategic growth pillars that will enhance independent powertrain products and content per vehicle. It includes a three-pronged approach: expanding the already built R&D unit, licensing technology and creating joint ventures with global players,” reveals Minda.
He points out that India’s EV market is currently growing rapidly, while the pace of penetration is slow, “but we can expect a gradual recovery.” With the word EV, many factors come into play like battery issues, charging infrastructure, range and most of all – fires every other day.
The scope and potential of electric vehicles is accepted around the world. However, much remains to be done to move forward. Along with this, concepts such as micro-shared mobility and connected and autonomous vehicles are taking the automotive industry to a different level.
Minda, commenting on the same, adds, “The global automotive fraternity is moving towards a single goal of connected driving that is environmentally friendly, comfortable and safe. What India needs now is a strategic transition that does not project electric vehicles as the only option in the future, but rather a way forward, enabling a transition to a clean transport system in the country without pushing its manufacturing capabilities to its limits.
“We are constantly working on adding new electronic products to our portfolio and premiumizing existing products. We plan to invest in R&D and equip it more with the latest technologies and we are working to develop more products that can contribute to the faster adoption of electric vehicles. We believe it is very important to invest and pursue more inorganic partnership opportunities and we will continue to invest in R&D for new technologies. »
The Minda Corporation entered into strategic ties with Israeli company Ride Vision and Korean company Infac in fiscal 2022. The company also acquired a 26% stake in charging solutions startup Evqpoint Solutions in of the same year.
Currently, the group is exploring other such investment opportunities that would help the company expand its R&D and production capabilities. Investments like greenfields and brownfields are still ongoing.