How has been the last year for TGSIN?
Last year was good for us. We could expand our business to Renault which is one of the milestones. We would not only be contributing towards product manufacturing but also be playing a key role in product design and process development with the French major. The another feather in cap was that the company was recognised by Toyota Kirloskar for being one the best cost performer and Best Value Engineering (VE) company.
This year, demand in the market has weakened. We are utilising this opportunity to improve our systems and strengthen our operations, by more resource rationalisation, thereby improving our efficiency and become competitive to garner future business. Innovation in technology and products, strategic marketing and smart manufacturing will play a key in future business growth. We are focusing on human resources development with training program in India and overseas to improve their skills as part of Skill India. I strongly believe in supporting the cause of Make in India, by increasing our tool and product development locally.
BS VI regulations are to be implemented from next year. How are the Indian automotive and auto components industries are getting ready for it?
The focus by the government towards a cleaner environment, by making BS VI compliant vehicles by 2020 is welcome.
Changes in the vehicles like on-board diagnostics, RDE (Real Driving Emission) monitoring systems will have a significant impact on the technology enhancement and cost increase. The vehicle cost is expected to increase by 15 to 20 percent.
The concern point to automotive industry is about the possibility of inventory management of BS IV vehicles post April 2020 and the demand projections for BS VI vehicles.
In spite of such challenges, the automotive and automobile industry, have as been undertaking transformation in its process, facilities and other resources to comply with the BS VI requirements. This also has resulted in substantial capital investment in quite many industries, but keeping in mind the environment concerns the entire automotive and automobile industry is taking efforts to support the government initiative.
Also, there is an increasing trend towards going green in the automotive industry. Can you tell us about some of the initiatives that you have taken?
When we talk about ‘Going Green’, the primary industry in focus is the automotive industry. Every automobile maker and the related automotive industry is now giving more thrust to the research and development of more eco-friendly materials which are reliable and recyclable.
However, when we talk about going green, it promotes development of green concepts like the Green Supply chain and management, Green manufacturing, module assembly, ECO design, Reverse logistics, etc. contributing significantly in reducing the carbon footprint. That means it’s an opportunity to enhance our knowledge by adopting new technologies, improvements, reduce wastages and contribute to the ecosystem.
Using renewable energy is one of our prime aims to reduce the CO2 emission in line with Toyoda Gosei’s Environment Challenges 2050. This year we could run our operation 70 percent on solar energy and aim to achieve 85 percent by year end. As a part of eco manufacturing plant, we have initiated special activity to reduce a waste with ‘Mottai Nai approach’ (Don‘t be wasteful) aiming to become Role Model Company in TG world by 2020.
Globally, the trend of light weighting is seen in the industry for few years now. What impact does it have on auto component manufacturers? How have you been helping OEMs achieve success in this area?
Weight reduction of about 10 percent in the vehicle contributes to 6–20 percent improvement in fuel efficiency, depending on the models. Today, light weighting has opened up opportunities to plastics raw material makers, designers and component manufacturers to come out with products, which are more strong, reliable, durable and sustainable. Lot of metal replacement to plastics like fuel lids, front end module, shafts, engine components, powertrain parts, etc. have played a great role in weight reduction.
We have been acting as a bridge between the OEM and the raw material manufacturers in identifying, developing and promoting low weight materials, generation of new design ideas with support of Toyoda Gosei, Japan in this direction.
Plastics Fuel Filler pipe, Lightweight integrated Grille supporting autonomous driving with sensors are pioneer products developed by TG.
How do you look at the emergence of e-vehicles? What challenges are being faced by the industry in this segment? The promotion of e-vehicles in India looks promising, but comes along with challenges. Currently, India is emerging as one of the promising automobile markets, shall offer big opportunities to many OEMs to expand their market share. The changes needed in terms of the design, materials, etc. in the automobiles would give raise to many auto component industries. With e-vehicles contributing less than 10 percent of the total sales, it’s not going to be a smooth road in India.
Biggest challenges lie in the infrastructure establishment in terms of the charging stations, the technology required and maintenance and sustenance of the same. Also, manufacturing cost of EV cars being very expensive, it is not affordable for the Indian market in present condition.
As we all know Battery is the most critical part of EV. Currently Lithium – ion Batteries (LIBS) is widely adopted. Affordability, distance coverage and of course the recyclability of battery are the serious issues to be tackled.
Clear long-term policy addressing above challenges, promoting research, development associated with EVs related car manufacturers and auto component industry is required to be formulated by the government.
Significant measures to build a strong infrastructure across the country will definitely boost the EV market in India. The main purpose of EVs is to have better emission control. Considering the challenges ahead we also need to explore the possibility for promoting hybrid technology as a front runner in this EV drive. However, we foresee a global trend of transformation from IC engine cars to EV primarily with hybrid electric vehicle, plug in hybrid electric vehicle, battery hybrid cars and fuel cell cars.