In an upfront conversation, Krishnan Kohli, Head of Vehicle Dynamics (VED) and Hydraulic Brake Systems (HBS) at Continental Automotive India speaks to Sumesh Soman on localisation and India commitment.

Q. What are the localisation efforts at Continental Automotive India?
A. Continental has been in the Indian market for over a decade now. And we have a presence across 15 locations where we operate nine plants. There is a large tech centre we have in India, and upwards of 4,000 plus people supporting all the business units we like to call a configuration business unit. I am directly responsible for two business units. And then we also have both the support for the regional markets and the export markets. For example, we support Japan using the R&D Engineering team sitting out of Bengaluru. We are leveraging the talent here. It is part of the competency building strategy. We are committed to India where we are invested heavily. For the brakes business, I think there is a larger localisation in the case of hydraulic brakes. It’s upwards of 70 per cent and then the three product technologies that we have are actuations. We also have drum brakes and callipers that we briefly saw in the plant tour for the electronic brakes, which is ABS and ESC. There are three such assembly lines we have and we are working towards increasing the localisation of child parts to drive competitiveness and sustainability in the market. We have a strong growth vision both on the two- and four-wheeler market. So partially, I would also like to credit the government’s focus on the legislation on safety. But within continental too, we have defined a ‘Vision Zero’. We want to drive zero fatalities, zero injuries, and zero accidents.


Q. What are the upcoming safety regulations that you are focused on?
A. Specific to two-wheelers, over the last couple of years, we did see a lot of focus from the government and the OEMs. And then players like us feel there is a whole ecosystem which has to work hand in hand. And that’s the reason I’m picking the key pillars and counting them as part of the ecosystem. In April 2019, the Government of India put in a regulation of ABS getting into the 135 cc and heavier than the 125 cc two-wheelers. There was also a regulation in tandem on CBS. ABS was legislated in April 2019, thereafter in 2020 onwards, the government has been driving relatively simpler inclusions but higher on impact to rider safety. Footrest and hand holds, a pillion guard on the rear wheel are some initiatives taking the market closer to the 300 cc segment. When you go into the heavier side of the vehicles, riders are looking for performance modes and that’s where the ride modes come into play. Beyond this, there is Optimised Curve Braking (OCB) required especially for the curve riding and the Rear-wheel Lift-off Protection (RLP). Drawing from the four-wheeler safety, the two-wheeler market is also gearing up to focus on cyber security and advanced rider assist functions like blind-spot detection, traffic signal alerts and adaptive cruise control function besides multiple lane changes assist functions. We are currently engaged with the many key OEMs in the Indian market and overseas as well, where we are working on some of these functions currently not legislated. They come from product legislation. We are already engaged and working on these topics with our customers.


Q. Would you be able to share a time line for the commercial rollouts or introduction to the market?A. For functionality in the two-wheeler segment, it might take a couple of years in India to advance. Ride modes, OCB, RLP, right hill hold assist, are expected to come in much earlier. We are actively working with some key OEMs across the country, South and North to introduce these functions. The window for some of these functions is very small. Will it come as part of the government regulation and mandate, maybe not. The OEMs based on consumer feedback are wanting to work on advancing technology that also extends to advanced lighting systems. ACI


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