India beats China in application of AMTs and ABS technologies in trucks and buses, global vehicle-control solutions provider Wabco said.
Speaking with HT on the sidelines of the Tata T1 Prima Truck Racing in Greater Noida on Sunday, Wabco chairman and chief executive officer Jacques Esculier said, “We used to look at China first and then at India. But as this (Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led) government is steering India on growth track and acting to clear industrial nightmares about GST, India has become a growth machine.”
Wabco Inc, a tier-one supplier to the CV industry, acquired majority ownership in over five-decade-old joint venture with TVS India in 2009 and renamed the Indian subsidiary in 2011 to Wabco India. The company supplies safety, braking and vehicle-stability solutions to Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Volvo-Eicher, Mahindra and Bharat Benz in India, and many other CV-makers globally.
Wabco invented electronically-controlled air-suspensions back in 1986, which are used in SUVs and luxury vehicles from Volkswagen, Audi and BMW globally. All air-suspension systems delivered to BMW globally were built by Wabco in India, Esculier said.
The Brussels-headquartered manufacturer also supplies automated manual transmissions (AMT) units for trucks and buses, but share of AMT commercial vehicles in India is marginal. “Already 80% of European trucks and buses are equipped with AMTs, half of heavy-duty trucks in US are running on AMT. China is a bit complicated, but India is going to grow faster, even faster than China,” the company CEO said.
“We are currently producting minimal volumes, few-hundreds right now. AMTs need electronic engines, which are set to come with Euro V (BS IV) from April. And with that, the demand for AMTs in trucks will go up,” he said.
Another technology the company supplies to commercial vehicle manufacturers is antilock braking system (ABS), an electronically-controlled braking technology that differentiates stoppage among the wheels to prevent skidding of vehicles on turns and slippery surfaces.
“ABS has not been implemented in China, though they started earlier. India has delivered on safety in trucks and buses faster,” he said, mentioning that China leads in trucking technology but the Indian CV market is more than twice the size of China.
Wabco India managing director P Kaniappan said around 30% of the local production is exported to Japan, Europe, US and south American markets, but the revenue from India is less than 10% of the global numbers.
Wabco banks heavily on “Indian frugal engineering”, what could colloquially be called “Jugaad”.
“European technologies are more expensive to sell in India. We leverage the frugal capabilities of Indian engineers who can look at a product and redesign it for 30-40% lesser cost. So we not only redesign our products for India in India, but all our products globally are now redesigned by Indian engineers.”
“It’s interesting how they developed a line to assemble AMTs in India at half the cost of what we had in China. The head of manufacturing engineering of Wabco Global is from Chennai,” Esculier said.
“We’re today exporting products made in Chennai to all over the world. That proves how investing in and betting on India for the future growth and values of Wabco Global was the correct step.”