Auto component major Mahle Group to step up investments in India
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Jorg Stratmann, Global CEO
Jorg Stratmann, Global CEO

Mumbai: The Indian government’s push on localisation of electric and low emission vehicles in India has seen the 12.6 billion Euros auto component major Mahle Group committing to invest more in joint ventures, new products and plant expansion.

Mahle Group has raised its stake in former joint venture MAHLE Letrika Roots India to 90% from 50%. This is part of the group’s dual strategy of expanding its position as a systems provider for alternative drive concepts along with enhancing the conventional powertrains.

Mahle, a supplier of parts to leading vehicle makers like Maruti Suzuki, Tata, Mahindra besides global conglomerates like Volkswagen, Suzuki and Yamaha, will initially focus on development and production of AC/DC electric motors and control units through its unit Mahle Electric Drives India based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. Production will start by April 2020.

Global CEO Jorg Stratmann told ET the harmonisation of Indian emission norms and a push on electrification offers the company a strong growth opportunity to increase its penetration in the Indian market, especially on the mechatronic business front.

Stratmann said the company believes in the future of Indian market though the current period is difficult and challenging and the company had to adjust its capacities, but it is continuing to invest in future growth opportunities like the mechatronics.

“The biggest growth you will see is on the mechatronic front, electronic motors, controllers, drives in particular. We see good opportunity in the two or three wheelers market. We have some business already today and we are going to localise this to drive business growth,” added Stratmann.

Having set up the base in India almost six decades back, Mahle Group has all its businesses in India and generated about 278 million Euros in 2018, making up for just 2% of its overall global turnover of 12.7 billion Euros.

The company expects the content per car to grow faster and boost its topline and bottomline with India’s push towards electrification and cleaner vehicles in the future with premiumisation also gaining momentum.

“Our goal has always been to grow faster than the market. We would want to continue to grow disproportionately in new areas of electrified powertrain, this is where our mechatronics unit is in,” he added.

The current downturn in the Indian market did not surprise Stratmann, unlike some others as the company closely monitors the market.

“It is not a surprise, right steps are being taken on emission levels, corporate tax reduction to offer stimulus. India should continue to push on infrastructure investments, as it is essential for growth,” he added.

He says managing the down cycle and simultaneously investing in future disruptions like electric vehicles is a challenging task.

“We are working hard to retain the profitability to ensure that we are able to finance the future disruptions,” added Stratmann.

Mahle group’s product portfolio addresses all the crucial issues relating to the powertrain and air conditioning technology—both for drives with combustion engines and for e-mobility. The Stuttgart-based Mahle’s products are fitted in every second vehicle worldwide. Components and systems from Mahle are also used off the road—in stationary applications, for mobile machinery, rail transport, as well as marine applications.

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