Phoenix Lamps banks on halo­gens, to in­tro­duce new prod­ucts

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - Story by: Bhar­gav TS

Phoenix Lamps Di­vi­sion, a unit of Supra­jit Engi­neer­ing Ltd (formerly Phoenix Lamps Ltd), which man­u­fac­tures and sup­plies halo­gen lamps for the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, is in­tro­duc­ing new vari­ants in H4 and H7 halo­gen bulbs with ex­tra life. Phoenix Lamps has its fully in­te­grated state-of-the-art man­u­fac­tur­ing plants in Noida. with a col­lec­tive an­nual ca­pac­ity of around 87 mil­lion lamps.

“Phoenix Lamps, which has been work­ing with its con­cept, RGL (Ro­bust­ness, Geom­e­try and Life), to bring in new vari­ants, since last year, added `P’ for power ef­fi­ciency to make it RGLP. With RGLP, the fo­cus is on re­duc­ing power con­sump­tion. We pro­duce mul­ti­ple prod­ucts us­ing RGLP and sup­ply them in the global and In­dian mar­kets. It has started giv­ing us div­i­dend,” N S Mo­han, Di­rec­tor and CEO of Phoenix Lamps Di­vi­sion, told Au­toCom­po­nentsIn­dia.

He con­tin­ued say­ing that, “RGLP can­not come as a pack­age. If a cus­tomer chooses less power con­sump­tion he needs to sac­ri­fice on some­thing else. Our fo­cus is to have a bunch of prod­ucts avail­able in the mar­ket and al­low the cus­tomer to choose. With the avail­able tech­nol­ogy, there is no scope for their co­ex­is­tence in the halo­gen seg­ment. In LEDs, it is a dif­fer­ent story. Its life is more depen­dent on the ther­mal man­age­ment and how the heat is taken out. For light and lu­mi­nos­ity, there is no re­stric­tion on LEDs. The chal­lenge there is to get the beam pat­tern and to in­te­grate with the beam box,” he said.

Mo­han stated that Phoenix con­tin­ued to hold pole po­si­tion both with the OEMs and in the af­ter­mar­ket. Ma­jor por­tion of the to­tal rev­enue is from the af­ter­mar­ket. Last year, aided by GST, the com­pany had record sales in In­dia. “We stream­lined the busi­ness and al­lowed or­gan­ised play­ers to cap­i­talise. This got us to the pole po­si­tion. The qual­ity is­sues that we had ear­lier were re­solved and we re­gained the trust of the OEMs. Mov­ing for­ward, we have to clearly as­sess the im­pact of LEDs on our busi­ness,” he said. For the world mar­ket, Phoenix has UN cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and re­cently got the DOP cer­tifi­cates for the US mar­ket.

“Our new H7 line is in­stalled and is work­ing at a good level of ca­pac­ity util­i­sa­tion. We have cer­tain bot­tle­necks in a few ar­eas. This year we will try to rec­tify them. For 2018-19, our fo­cus is to be there in the global af­ter­mar­ket and to work with big brands. We will work closely with both the do­mes­tic and ex­port mar­kets,” Mo­han said. “We can see an in­crease in the sales of H7. We were not able to give qual­ity H7 bulbs ear­lier, but now we have a state-of-the-art man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity for H7, may be the best H7 fa­cil­ity in In­dia. The ca­pac­ity re­mains the same. What we did was, we re­tired the old line and re­placed it with a new one,” he said.

About the OE mar­kets in In­dia and abroad, the of­fi­cial said, “Ear­lier,

we were looked upon as a low-cost man­u­fac­turer. Now, it has changed, and they look at us as a po­ten­tial com­pany bring­ing tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tions. On the global mar­ket, we are con­cen­trat­ing only on the af­ter­mar­ket. In the global af­ter­mar­ket, LED has not come yet. It is more strin­gent there in Europe. We see that be­ing in halo­gen is our strength. The big play­ers like Phillips are mov­ing away from it. It is a shrink­ing busi­ness for them and they are not in it. This al­lows us to grab that busi­ness and sus­tain it as long as we have the qual­ity. Lots of mar­kets are leav­ing halo­gens and if we choose them, we can mod­ify and bring them in. We do not sup­ply to OEM in Europe. We are cer­ti­fied, and we can al­ways sup­ply if we have an op­por­tu­nity.”

On the af­ter­mar­ket of LED, he said that it all de­pends on pric­ing. The LED prices are very high, and he feels that over the time they will come down. “LEDs are more of an ac­ces­sory than a re­place­ment item. There are no reg­u­la­tions in In­dia like those in Europe. LEDs give very bright light and the tem­per­a­ture level is high. It blinds the on­com­ing traf­fic pos­ing a safety haz­ard. Ve­hi­cles with such LEDs do not have any con­trolled beam pat­tern and throw light hap­haz­ardly. Hav­ing said that, we are see­ing LEDs as a small por­tion of our busi­ness now,” Mo­han said.

In com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles and cars, the chances of fail­ure and re­place­ment of bulbs are high. Phoenix has done a test mar­ket­ing by in­tro­duc­ing LED bulb so­lu­tion. There is some mar­ket that will take it. So, from a brand per­spec­tive, it is very im­por­tant for the com­pany. It has seeded the mar­ket and are also in dis­cus­sion with few play­ers to work to­gether and sup­ply. But it is not look­ing at man­u­fac­tur­ing LEDs now.

With the new norms com­ing in, the man­u­fac­tur­ers will be forced to move to LEDs. This will re­duce the en­gine load and will help with ve­hi­cle per­for­mance. Mo­han thinks it will take time for the whole tran­si­tion and there is head­room for the halo­gens in the af­ter­mar­ket.

“Ev­ery­thing is re­lated to the price point. There are 2 types of busi­ness, niche and mass or vol­ume. In vol­ume busi­ness, 2 things are very crit­i­cal, the ini­tial cost of own­er­ship and cost of run­ning. In a vol­ume seg­ment when you bring in LED, cost of own­er­ship goes up, but the cost of run­ning comes down, be­cause of the weight re­duc­tion and bet­ter mileage. There­fore, it makes sense to go for LEDs. How­ever, the com­muter level is an en­try seg­ment, which is ex­tremely price sen­si­tive. This is not easy for OEMs to say that they are re­plac­ing Halo­gen with LEDs and pass­ing on the cost to the cus­tomers who are price sen­si­tive. If the OEMs come with the same to­tal price, then it will be a dif­fer­ent story. When you go to the niche seg­ment, the up­per level, then you have a dif­fer­ent game and you can of­fer what­ever you want. We are still in the vol­ume game, we feel it will take time,” Mo­han staid.

On the Chi­nese prod­ucts that are in the mar­ket, Mo­han feels that, at the end of the day price is not ev­ery­thing. It is a ques­tion of how you are go­ing to gain mar­ket share and hold them, he signed off.

Phoenix Lamps Noida plant

N S Mo­han, Di­rec­tor and CEO of Phoenix Lamps Di­vi­sion

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