Sunil Bohra also sheds light on the current state of the Indian Auto Component Market, highlighting the various challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, and discussed Uno Minda’s unique offerings to the industry, emphasising the company’s commitment to innovation and quality.
Excerpts from the interview.
Component market as an ever-changing landscape? What strategies and offerings do Uno Minda have to support the industry?
The auto component industry has changed drastically in the last few decades. Few decades back primarily known for outsourcing and built to print as designed by the OEMs, but with the passage of time, it has transformed itself into an innovator.
The auto component players today are heavily investing in their R&D divisions, which has resulted in numerous occasions where the auto component players have suggested and even presented new products to the OEMs. This has not only increased the self-sufficiency of the country but also presented the country with the exciting opportunity of being a manufacturing hub for global players.
Uno Minda, a seasoned auto component manufacturer in the ever-dynamic Indian auto component market, has closely aligned itself with the mega-trends. To better cater to the industry and its needs, we have been presenting our formidable product portfolio, built around the mega-trends of PACE technology, which stands for “Personalised Mobility, Autonomous Driving, Connected and Electrification”.
We have been constantly designing our product line in new areas like the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System), artificial intelligence, complex electronics, and many more. Over the years, this has helped manufacture advanced technology components at home and pioneered the trend of localisation. We have also facilitated various government initiatives towards cleaner and safer mobility by offering products and solutions well in advance. With this vision, we have been providing cutting-edge technology that has resulted in enhanced safety and comfort at the same time for all our consumers.
At the Uno Minda stall in Auto Expo – Components, visitors were treated to an engaging interactive display and demonstration of their product portfolio that focused on personalisation, autonomy, connectivity, and electrification, creating a truly mesmerising experience. Could you please tell us how these factors are influencing the automotive today?
As you know that the auto industry is very dynamic and with technology being upgraded everyday, people have now started giving more impetus to comfort and safety. Uno Minda, a pioneer in innovation and technology, identified this long back and keeping this in mind focussed on creating diversified product ranges build around PACE technology.
For the unversed, Uno Minda’s PACE technology can be further explained as:
Personalisation: which can be reflected as “affordable luxury” offers a products range that can provide the customer a customised and luxurious experience in the segment of lightning, seating, acoustics, and where smart phone can be integrated.
Autonomous: Given the Indian driving conditions, it revolves around driver assistance system and driver behaviour monitoring. Our product range perform really well in enriching automated systems with sensors and ADAS capabilities to help the customers make better driving decisions.
Connected: Uno Minda provides cutting-edge technology in connected platform to collect, control, monitor and monetize vehicles data. Connectivity supports predictive maintenance and repair, on-demand insights, usage-based insurance, and real-time navigation guidance.
Electrification: Keeping pace with the evolving technology Uno Minda has been convincingly present in the EV Technology across segments with charging and power-train solutions.
With this formidable product range build around PACE technology we have tried to give a customised and mesmerising experience to the end users as well as facilitate OEM’s in localisation of advance technologies components.
With the electric vehicles market in India rapidly growing, component manufacturers have an excellent opportunity to capitalise on this emerging industry. How is Uno Minda leveraging on this?
India, as a signatory to the Paris Agreement, is committed to reducing its carbon emissions, which has opened more avenues for the already dynamic electric vehicle segment.
Uno Minda, which is the leader in innovation, has been working on EV portfolios for years and has over 15 R&D and engineering centres around the world to support it. We also have R&D Centres called “CREAT,” (Centre for Research Engineering and Advanced Technologies), which are innovation-driven R&D centres incubating products with their core at PACE.
Backed by our in-house R&D, we have developed 2W/3W EV components like on-board chargers, smart plugs, telematics, DC-DC converters, vehicle control units, RCD cables, Battery Management system etc.
In order to further strengthen our EV product portfolio and bring cutting-edge technologies home, we have entered into a joint venture with FRIWO Germany, for adding Motors controllers, Off Board chargers to our already impressive EV specific product portfolio. Recently we entered into another joint venture with Buehler Motors for manufacturing of traction motors.
Majority of these products are already in production and being supplied to EV OEMs. Being the front runners in technology, we are constantly working on adding new products to our portfolio battery packs and an acoustic vehicle alert system are two such products in the development stage.
While our existing product portfolio is engine agnostic i.e. it can be fitted in Electric vehicles as well, we see electrification as on incremental business opportunity. Our potential kit value has already
increased 4 times to `30,000+ with EV specific products under production. Similar to all other existing products, we are targeting a significant market share of EV specific components from this growing EV market.
What is your take on sustainable practices in the Automotive industry?
Uno Minda is a responsible organisation that understands the significance of reducing the adverse impacts of heavy industries on the environment. As we work to become a globally sustainable corporation, we use state-of-the-art technologies and best-practice initiatives to improve our efficiency in terms of waste management, water and energy use, and energy consumption.
Almost all of our plants are ISO 14001-certified Environmental Management System (EMS), making it possible for us to consistently evaluate our performance and progress against our environmental goals. Across the organisation, our efforts are directed by our EHS policy.
Energy efficiency and conservation are our highest priorities. We have added rooftop solar panels at various plants in the last year alone, boosting our renewable energy share from 2% to 10%. We have also established an ambitious goal to achieve 40% of our energy needs from renewable sources by 2025 as evidence of our dedication to decarbonizing our operations.
Uno Minda has recently formed several international partnerships in order to strengthen its product portfolio. How these collaborations have enabled Uno Minda to access cutting-edge technology, new markets, and an expanded customer base?
Uno Minda has been at the forefront of localisation and contributes towards the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative. To carry with this further Uno Minda has not only set up advanced R&D centres across the globe but has also collaborated in a few international partnerships to provide the best product experience for its customers.
The joint ventures have aided Uno Minda in its vision of producing cutting-edge technology within the country and strengthening the GDP of the auto component industry. It has also helped the country in reducing imports and smooth running of the supply chain further reducing the gaps in automobile production.
It has also given Uno Minda an edge above the others in upcoming technologies, Electric vehicles being one area where our collaboration with FRIWO and Buhler Motors has not only helped us expand our kit offerings but has also provided our domestic customers the latest technology being used in the international markets.
It has also helped us to be pioneers in new and customised products, passenger vehicle seats being another instance where our collaboration with TACHI – S will help us to provide mechanisam for seat recliners in the first phase with the intention of expanding into other seating mechanisms, seat frames, and complete seating assembly.
Tell us about Uno Minda’s CSR activities and how it aims to facilitate better opportunities for the community & support to Industry.
Uno Minda through its CSR wing is committed to contributing to society, especially in key areas of Education, Vocational Training, Preventive & Curative Healthcare, and Community well-being and development. For this, we have been running various community-centric programmes in these thematic areas to help community members in an overall manner.
All our initiatives are structured and tailored to provide all-around support. To date, we have benefited more than 1.50 lakh beneficiaries directly and indirectly through our various projects. In addition to this, we have also reached and benefitted approx. 88000 people in the last
couple of years through our special COVID-19 project.
Through one of our CSR initiatives, the Samarth-Jyoti Centres which are spread across the country, we have enhanced the learning skills of people, helping them live a dignified life. Our programmes supported the community to be skilled and helped youth to land employment opportunities.
We have involved community stakeholders like public representatives, PRI members to participate and take ownership of the programme for the betterment of the community. Our local Public relation team also plays a major role to connect with community representatives to implement the programme and strengthen the public relations between the community and industry.