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Uno Minda: The Trend Setter In Automotive Solutions In 2023, Uno Minda's key focus area is on aggressively expanding its EV Specific product. It also aims to increase exports by offering an entire bouquet of products to global OEMs and is targeting export growth to outpace domestic growth

By Shrabona Ghosh

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For more than six decades, Uno Minda, a Tier 1 supplier of proprietary automotive solutions to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) has made significant contributions to the automotive industry. It is now accelerating its ambition and expanding its portfolio in electric vehicle products, exports, technology and CSR. The innovations are designed and engineered for efficiency with an emphasis on enhanced comfort levels and fine-tuned response.

Driving innovation comes with its own set of hurdles but an entrepreneur can always navigate the challenges. A leader who believes in delegating, empowering and investing in people development, Nirmal K. Minda, chairman and managing director, Uno Minda, has been an ardent advocate of innovations. He believes that in the future, people will regard cars as the third living place beyond home and offices. "This is one area where we believe many products based on personalization will arise. We have also developed capabilities in latest lighting technologies like adaptive lighting, interior lighting, logo projectors, illuminated badges," Minda said.

In 2023, Uno Minda's key focus area is on aggressively expanding its EV Specific product business. The company has secured a healthy order book of INR 800 crore annual peak revenue. It also aims to increase exports by offering an entire bouquet of products to global OEMs and is targeting export growth to outpace domestic growth. On the technology front, it is developing capabilities in ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) with driver monitoring behavior and developing four-wheeler EV specific products.

Innovations, Expansion & Exports

Having built a diversified product portfolio, it is seeing ample growth opportunities in advanced and customized technologies. One such area is penetration of alloy wheels, which is gradually increasing, however, in India there is a significant gap of around 60 per cent from developed countries. It is adding around 90,000 wheels per month capacity in 4w alloy wheels, enhancing it to 385,000 in next 15 months in a phased manner. The switch market is moving towards software controlled switches with CAN-LIN and the company is setting up a new 4W Switch plant in Farukhnagar, Haryana with initial outlay of INR 110 crore. Pursuant to recent regulation on six airbags and consequent increased demand, "We are also increasing our capacity of airbags manufacturing," Minda added.

Additionally, to increase export and international revenues, Uno Minda is setting up a marketing office in Thailand and strengthening its offices in Japan and Europe. "From a manufacturing perspective, we would continue to focus on low cost manufacturing countries like Vietnam and Indonesia where we already have manufacturing facilities and are looking for further expansion. We would want to serve the other large auto markets like Europe and America through exports from India rather than setting up manufacturing facilities in these geographies."

Overcoming Challenges & Strengthening Tech

During the pandemic, auto industry volumes were severely impacted. However, the situation has significantly improved with easing of semiconductor supply issues. "While issues are not completely resolved, it has minimal impact on production volumes as OEMs and suppliers make resilient efforts in securing supplies in a timely manner," Minda said.

Uno Minda's requirements of semiconductors were miniscule, "We were able to secure through close monitoring and set up a few stringent checks on selection, engagement and monitoring of suppliers. We have also framed rules to check the financial and qualitative health of suppliers at the time of onboard itself," he added.

It has also worked towards diversification of suppliers into other south Asian countries. "Besides, we have increased our efforts to develop local suppliers. For products which are not available in India, we have diversified our supplier base into other south Asian countries so that we are not dependent on one region."

Over the last few decades, Uno Minda has been making continuous investments in R&D. It had set up a central R&D center in 2017 and christened it as CREAT (Center for Research, Engineering and Advance Technologies). Besides CREAT, it has 15 R&D and engineering centers across the globe. "We invest around 3 per cent of our revenues into R&D."

Minda believes the future is autonomous and the rise of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) will be impeccable. "We are investing our research efforts into developing components like cameras, radars and ultrasonic sensors for various autonomous and safety features."

Way Forward: From Acquisitions To Sustainability

Recently, Uno Minda's board has approved the acquisition of an 81.69 per cent stake in Kosei Minda Aluminum Company (KMA) and a 49.90 per cent stake in Kosei Minda Mould (KMM) from joint venture partner Kosei, Japan (Kosei).

Are there any other acquisitions in the pipeline? "Being a large organization, while we keep on evaluating multiple opportunities, none of them are beyond the evaluation stage. Further, I would also like to highlight that our organization prefers organic growth i.e. developing business from scratch rather than acquiring business. Acquisition in most time is driven more from technology benefit."

Sharing insights into the revenue split, he said, "Our vehicles segmental revenues is fairly split with 4 wheeler contributing to around 50 per cent revenue, two wheeler around 45 per cent and remaining by commercial vehicles and off road. The revenues split also keeps on changing between 2w and 4w basis the performance of the underlying industry," he said, adding that in terms of channel wise sales, 90 per cent of the revenues comes from direct OEMs sales and remaining 10 per cent from its aftermarket channel.

The Indian automotive industry has been gradually moving toward cleaner and safer mobility. Uno Minda has been facilitating such sustainable initiatives by offering various products: When the industry moved from B-IV to BS VI, Uno Minda facilitated the move by providing various engine sensors, electronic control units, carbon canisters for stricter emission norms. Beside products, the company has adopted sustainable manufacturing and processes. It has invested in solar farms to promote green energy and 20 per cent of its power requirement comes through renewable sources and it targets to increase it to 40 per cent in next three years.

Shrabona Ghosh


A journalist with a cosmopolitan mindset. I lead a project called 'Corporate Innovations' wherein I cover corporates across verticals and try to tell stories on innovations. Apart from this, I write industry pieces on FMCGs, auto, aviation, 5G and defense. 
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