Subros to expand business with growing thermal systems market for CVs
The New Delhi-based Subros Limited, which manufactures thermal products for automotive applications, in technical collaboration with Denso Corporation, has 40% share of the Indian passenger vehicle heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) market. It is keen to replicate this success in the commercial vehicle space.
Subros has an annual capacity to produce 1.5 million AC kits which include compressors, condensers, heat exchangers and all connecting elements required to complete the AC loop. The company caters to all automotive segments of passenger vehicles, buses, trucks, refrigeration transport, off- roaders, and railways.
“Owing to the increase in the share of business from the existing customers, and because of expanding into new business domains like bus and rail airconditioning, truck refrigeration, and radiators, we are anticipating strong growth. We see growth in the promotion of eco-friendly automobiles in India. We have made extensive localisation plans for key components to supply products that employ the latest technology at low cost. We are confident that, this will help us to sustain growth, profitability, and minimise the impact of fluctuation in economic indicators,” Shraddha Suri Marwah, Managing Director, Subros, said.
Subros is working closely with its partners to enhance its technological prowess, and to support customer vehicle programmes. Its state-of-theart testing facilities help to evaluate all aspects of vehicle thermal system management. Subros has presented itself as a reliable partner for component and system validation. It is anticipating consistant growth in the automotive sector because of stable global economic factors, emphasis on local manufacture, and infrastructure growth.
Thermal Systems for CVs
Subros has developed thermal solutions for commercial vehicles manufactured by Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, SML Isuzu, Force Motors and Daimler India Commercial Vehicles, among others. The market expansion and development plan of the company is based on the Government mandate for the fitting of a blower unit in CVs with a GVW of 3.5-tonne and above, which has opened the thermal systems market for CVs in India, and the very good
demand for AC buses and reefer trucks. The market for AC bus is estimated to be between 15,000 and 20,0000 units and for reefer trucks about 3,000 units a year.
“Today almost every passenger vehicle that rolls out of the assembly line is fitted with an air-conditioner. Subros is confident of making it big in the CV space. Leveraging the experience of building thermal systems for passenger vehicles at one end, and for locomotives (to Indian Railways, Medha Group and Bombardier Transportation) at the other, we are keen to get a frontrunner advantage in the Indian CV market. We see the passenger vehicle trend replicating itself in the commercial vehicle space in India. The mandate to fit a blower unit is creating a strong pull. Almost 95% of CVs were not fitted with an air-conditioner in 2017. It is changing,” Marwah said.
Since the third quarter of FY201718, Subros started supplying blower units to CV makers. The company claims to have secured about 70% market share in this segment. “We have the distinct advantage of having an efficient infrastructure at our disposal. We can quickly and promptly respond to the market requirement,” she said.
Subros has manufacturing plants in Noida (2), Manesar, Pune, Chennai and Sanand, and a well-equipped R&D Center and Tool Room in Noida.
With the major share of its business from the passenger vehicle segment, the company, in the long-term, is looking at about 25% business from the CV market against the present 10-15%. Subros is enhancing its capabilities to meet the needs of its customers. Supplying world-class products, the company is engaging closely with its partner Denso to innovate. “We are charting out a growth story through the increase in the share of business not only from new customers, but also from the existing ones,” Marwah said.
Emphasising on local content, costs and innovation, Subros is banking on technologically advanced products at the lowest possible price points. Since many suppliers are eyeing the AC bus market, estimated to grow at a CAGR of 20-25% in the next 3 to 4 years, Subros is keen to secure business from the State Transport Undertakings (STUs) which are expanding their AC bus fleet.
The better road infrastructure and the awareness about the benefit of AC cabins in CVs is rising and is being linked to higher return on investments. This is creating better demand for AC CVs. “We are looking at opportunities in both, short-haul and long-haul buses and CVs. The demand may be at a nascent stage today, we expect it to rise significantly,” she said. Subros is looking at the offhighway CV segment to carve out a large pie of the growing AC market for construction and earth moving equipment. It is the well-being and safety of the equipment operators that drives the AC market. Subros has a strategy to cater to the construction and earth moving equipment market, the agricultural equipment sector, which is driven by factors like health, comfort and work environment, and the cold chain logistics segment.
“Mobile farmer segment is on our radar. Stringent government regulations and improvement in crop realisation are creating demand for reefer trucks. We are ready to serve the needs in this segment. We are providing turnkey solutions for both, the cabin and superstructure,” Ms Marwah said.
Founded in 1985 as a joint venture public limited company with 40% ownership by the Suri family and 13% each by Denso Corporation and Suzuki Motor Corporation,
with a capacity to assemble 15,000 AC units, Subros now has 7 manufacturing plants in India and an engineering centre developed jointly with Denso in 2012. Subros is happy about the support from Denso as a technology partner. It is working closely with its customers and expanding in line with their growth plans.
Subros will commission a new facility in Gujarat next year. It will add 0.5 million units to the company’s existing capacity of 1.5 million. “The decision to invest in Gujarat was taken for products that are produced at a single location, and are critical to quality,” Marwah said. Apart from producing the entire HVAC unit, the plant will also manufacture hoses and condensers. Akin to the infrastructure at the existing plants, the company is investing in modern machinery and precision testing equipment in Gujarat. The production lines will incorporate extensive in-line quality checks to ensure the best quality.
The pressure die casting plant in Noida is the only squeeze die casting plant in India for Subros. It produces high quality intricate castings using squeeze and vacuum die casting. The technology for this was provided by Denso Corporation.
The Manesar plant of Subros has a state-of-the-art manufacturing and testing facility. The plant manufactures compressor clutch assembly, condenser core, condenser assembly, hoses and tubes, HVAC assembly, injection moulded parts, and ECM. The AC systems for CVs are made at the Oragadam plant of the company. The plant, near Chennai, also caters to transport refrigeration and the aftermarket. The Chakan, Pune, plant of Subros serves Tata Motors. It has the latest in production equipment, and product design and development set-up.
The Subros Technical Centre (STC) in Noida develops new products for model launches with assistance from Denso. Denso Subros Thermal Engineering Services takes care of the application and allied services. Its focus is on enhancing technologies to meet the future requirements of customers with local manufacture according to global specifications. The company’s road map for future technologies that the Indian market will demand is in place. (Thisreportisbasedonan interactioninNewDelhiwith ShraddhaSuriMarwah,Managing Director,Subros,andherteam, byHSBillimoria,CEO,NextGen Publishing,andAshishBhatia, SeniorCorrespondent,NextGen Publishing.)
H S Billimoria, CEO and Ashish Bhatia, Senior Correspondent, Next Gen Publishing in conversation with Shraddha Suri Marwah, Managing Director, Subros Ltd.
Subros Tool Engineering Centre.