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Bullish about growth, Hella India is keen to tap the CV lighting market, which is set for a big change.

Story by: Deepanshu Taumar

Hella India Lighting (HIL) brought LED lighting technology to commercial vehicles by developing a universal LED tail light design a few years ago. LED tail lights are today a common sight on many commercial vehicles in India. What started as an aftermarket effort on the part of HIL, a subsidiary of the German automotive lighting major Hella KGaA Hueck & Co., has turned into an OE program. Aware that the use of LED lighting technology in commercial vehicles is on the rise, Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting, is of the opinion that commercial vehicles will see lot of innovation and disruption in terms of differentiating technologies. Bullish about growth in India, HIL, according to Pandey, has developed a full LED head lamp. “We are finalising the right price to disrupt the market,” Pandey mentioned. Focusing on two-wheeler from a technology disruption point of view, in terms of business the focus is on commercial vehicles and tractors, Pandey added. Adapting new technologies like adaptive lightig technology for application in Indian automobiles, HIL, averred Pandey, is striving to work in a different manner. “Hella’s adaptive lighting will help reduce accidents because when brakes are applied a few diodes will light up in micro seconds. We are open to work with every OEM on this technological disruption,” explained Pandey.

LED lighting for CVs

Also working on LED daytime running lights, which are expected to be made mandatory, the company is claimed to have developed a prototype. The LED lights the company is developing for commercial vehicles can be detected from a longer distance. This can help to avoid accidents as those following the vehicle can brake in time. Drawing attention to a study that reports that proper lighting gives the driver four metre extra braking distance, and the response time goes up by 10 to the power of minus seven, Pandey averred, “accident rate is decreased and the accident, if it does take place, is less severe.” Stressing upon the need for proper lighting, Pandet averred, “We want to bring technologies like these as they will help to reduce accidents.” “Our vision is to introduce the technology of tomorrow for the life of today on Indian roads. We believe that we should first have proper lighting for proper vision before talking about other important safety features,” he added.

Pointing at some of the upcoming automotive lighting trends, including LED daytime running lights in two-wheelers, LEDs in commercial vehicles, signature lighting in passenger vehicles, Pandey stated that bus and coach lighting has moved to the next stage as well. He informed, “Lighting in buses and coaches has moved to the projector mode. The next level of replacement would take four to five years.” Emphasising upon helping manufacturers to localise their products, Pandey revealed that discussions are on in this regards. He also drew attention to the changes that are taking place at the aftermarket level. “In aftermarket many styling companies are entering. They are offering safety and styling lights,” he said.

Focus on aftermarket

For the aftermarket, HIL has developed a comprehensive product portfolio. Aiming at every segment, including the off-highway segments like tractors, agricultural equipment and construction equipment, HIL has also found a calling in batteries and horns as an allied extension to lighting products. The horns and batteries the company is offering is currently limited for two-wheelers. A pre-sales activity was done recently by the company in Delhi and Pune. HIL hopes to extend the actvity to 20 locations in the country in the next few months. A big plan up that HIL is drawing up is to start service stations that have trained mechanics and reliable spare parts.

With a strong global presence, Hella is not just a lighting company. It also is into horns, batteries, wiper blades, relays, wiring harness, condensors, radiators and spark plugs. The diversity of product offering is born out of the various joint ventures and partnerships Hella has inked since the 90s. These include Hella Behr Plastic Omnium (HBPO), Behr Hella Thermocontrol (BHTC), HSL Electronics Corporation, Intedis, Beijing Samlip Automotive Lighting, Behr Hella Service, Mando Hella Electronics, Changchun Hella Faway Automotive Lighting, Hella Pagid, Innosent GmbH and Beijing Hella BHAP Automotive Lighting. Producing a truck journal regularly with news from the truck world, Hella’s service initiative is based on the premise of ‘quick fix approach’. Quick fix approach is about an activity that takes between 30 minutes to two hours to fix a part. Pandey concluded that Hella has over 10 million customers from different vehicle segments. They use Hella products sold through over 4000 retail outlets, and other channels like ecommerce company Amazon with which Hella has entered into an arrangement. Hella is trying to build O to O (Online to Offline) platform where Amazon will be a booking website and the delivery would be done by the dealer.

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