Steelbird International looks beyond ICE products for growth

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Delhi-based Steelbird International, an automotive filter manufacturing company, is currently investigating many new technologies, including the EV space. It seeks to “form partnerships and target non-internal combustion engine product growth for growth.”

Manav Kapur, ED, Steelbird International, told Express Mobility that he has “spoken to many companies around the world about many EV components and also about products that are not exactly EV specific, but that will be improved in the Space EV.

To put things into perspective, Steelbird International is a manufacturer of automotive filters, rubber parts, helmets, and plastic components, among others. It was during the Auto Expo 2020 that it presented a new range of tires which, according to it, have been specifically developed for the segment of electric three-wheelers. But unfortunately, the company’s expectations in the segment did not meet the target.

Kapur says, “We haven’t seen much of the kind of growth we’ve seen in other sectors (read product portfolio). We haven’t seen that kind of tire growth for us because the industry generally has more overcapacity now. That’s why the market is very competitive for us, and the major growth has come from the secondary market.

Although Kapur does not reveal the exact quantum of growth for the company, he does say that its overall production has been in the range of 80-90% capacity utilization. “We’re probably one of the few companies that really ramped up capacity during the pandemic. We have also added machinery and set up a new factory in Pantnagar. »

It was in March that the company announced a partnership with TVS Auto Bangaldesh to set up an automotive filter manufacturing plant in the neighboring country. The range of auto filters will be manufactured for all types of automobiles – two-three-wheelers, passenger cars, tractors and utility vehicles. In fact, Kapur is optimistic about the operation and says he expects “revenue of Rs 100 crore over the next three years from the Bangladesh operation alone.”

On the other hand, Steelbird seeks to enter new segments to increase its value-added offer for the automotive segment, for example, its partnership with Cybellum Technologies of Isreal, for advanced cybersecurity solutions for the automotive industry.

“We are looking at what are our core competencies and what is the need of the hour. For example, the cybersecurity solutions we offer are based on the new connected vehicle space that is emerging in India. Most vehicles will be connected in the future. And so as soon as you connect the car, you are vulnerable to internet access. So that’s what we looked at. And we have seen that there is hardly anyone doing cyber security in India for automotive applications. And we looked at which were the best companies to consider and partnered with Cybellum Technologies to bring the solutions to India.

The Indian automotive aftermarket is pegged at over Rs 50,000 crore, no wonder there are players big and small trying to grab a slice of the demand.

“The bigger players get aggressive and the smaller ones have a hard time fighting them. That’s what the trend has been. Many people have gone bankrupt during the pandemic, especially small businesses. They couldn’t keep it afloat for six months or eight months and the market was really down. Unorganized players are losers and this is where the sentiment comes back. If you look at it, there is a lot of bad feeling in the market. They are forced to wait. They are not as good as before and that is mainly because the organized sector has suffered a lot and they were in droves. There are few companies that grow, but a lot of companies are really small. That’s why the sentiment seems to be stronger on this side,” concludes an optimistic Kapur.

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