Text: Anusha B

The starter motor manufacturer is also planning to open its R&D centre in Chennai and will be setting up a plant in Mexico.

Comstar Automotive Technologies, manufacturer and supplier of automotive starter motors, has developed the world’s lightest starter motor for passenger cars. The growing focus on environment with tighter emission norms and light-weight components has become the platform for technological innovation in starter motors also. The new 1.5kg starter motor is expected to replace the 2kg unit now in the market. In order to meet the growing challenges and to bring more innovative products, Comstar is setting up its R&D centre in Chennai.

Comstar’s 1.5kg starter motor is the lightest in World

Comstar’s 1.5kg starter motor is the lightest in World

The company’s in-house R&D team has been challenged with ‘the under 2kg starter motor’ target. The team made it in 12 months by adopting the optimisation rule in the choice of materials and design. The team used plastic components and magnesium alloy replacing metal components and aluminium. The company has to get to work with a lot of simulation and FEA techniques for finding approximate design solutions to ensure the unhindered performance of the motor.

“The 1.5-kg motor is the first sub-2kg starter motor developed for passenger cars anywhere in the world. It is 100% ‘Made in India-Made for the world’ product using indigenous resources and capabilities. Our team has fine-tuned the motor to ensure the balance between weight and performance and it is indeed a masterpiece for us,” said Praveen Chakrapani Rao, Vice President, R&D, Comstar. The new starter motor has achieved weight and size reduction. Once the engine optimisation happens, the space reduction could also be achieved, he further added.

About the future technologies, Sat Mohan Gupta, President and CEO, Comstar Automotive said, “Since 2009 the OEMs have been working on a mild hybrid vehicle programme. The society is moving towards a greener zone, and Comstar develops and supplies cutting-edge ‘go-green’ start-stop technologies for the next generation micro and mild hybrid vehicles. The 4 parameters which we adhere to support our customers are: Quality, delivery, process and speed. An integrated starter generator is needed for hybrid vehicles , fuel efficiency and CO2 foot print. We are working with OEMs from the drawing board to the delivery stage.”

Sat Mohan Gupta, President and CEO, Comstar Automotive

Sat Mohan Gupta, President and CEO, Comstar Automotive

“About 96% of our Indian operations are for exports and only 4% for the domestic market. Our entry in India is a little late and there are established players in the market. Breaking the supply base of OEMs is a mountainous task. But we still look for more opportunities in the domestic market.”

Product Range

Comstar manufactures wide range of starter motors ranging from 0.8 to 4.6kW, and supplies its products to over 42 customer locations across 35 countries in 5 continents. The company will also open a new plant in China mainly to serve the domestic market. It will be operational by this year-end.


The company has recently bagged orders from Ford Motor Company (North America) and the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Brazil. It has plans to set up a new plant in Mexico by 2020 to support its customers in Latin America and the US. “We are looking at setting up a new plant in Mexico in 2017. We have a plant in the US, with a capacity to produce about 3 lakh units a year, which primarily caters to Ford USA for its trucks. The US customers will be served by the proposed Mexico project,” Gupta said.

Ford Award

Recently, the Chennai-based company received Ford World Excellence Award-Gold. From the 4000 suppliers who contended for the award, 57 were given the award. They exceeded the company’s expectations and distinguished themselves from their peers by achieving the highest level of global excellence in 11 categories namely quality, green, safe, smart, lincoln luxury, aligned business framework, special recognition, diverse supplier of the year, supplier diversity development corporation of the year, gold and silver for supplier manufacturing sites. Two years ago, Comstar was awarded the World Excellence Award-Silver.

Comstar manufactures wide range of starter motor

Comstar manufactures wide range of starter motor

“We are delighted to receive Ford world Excellence Award-Gold in recognition of our performance in 2015. This is a great opportunity for us to step up our performance in terms of quality and service to a new level. Suppliers who are exceptionally good in performance and delivery will get this award. Quality, green initiatives, safety and smartness in technology are the 4 pillars essential to crack this hallmark award. This is the right time to set our next milestone and we aspire to achieve the ‘Brand Pillar Supplier’ award in a year’s time,” Gupta said,

Rajagopalan, Director, Programme, STA, Ford APA, said, “Meeting our requirement standards is the bottom line and that is the significant achievement at the first go and Comstar has achieved it in 2008. We don’t have any award region-wise or country-wise and the only award we confer is the world excellence award. In the Ford Brand Pillar, we have quality, safe, smart and green as the 4 faces and it is not the one- time achievement we look for but sustainability in achievement. The management, the doers (team) and the supplier should be in congruence to achieve sustainability and Comstar has cracked it. With Comstar, zero ppm is one of the attributes we honour. Never-before it happened where Google, Apple and everyone has started targeting auto industry. Hence innovation has become the key to stride equally with the existing competition. We recognise Comstar as a true role model for the suppliers.”

R&D Centre

Comstar invests 6-7% of its turnover in R&D. Its new R&D project in Chennai will be fully functional in 2 years. The research here will be on the future of starter motors and high efficiency alternators for global platform. The company foresees a series of opportunities in the long- run and its focus is on micro hybrid, mild hybrid and all-electric technologies. The company does not have a high volume business in alternators but it finds high prospects in that.

Comstar has an installed capacity of over 3.8 million starter motors and 1 million alternators in India. The current capacity utilisation is 55-60%. The company partners with OEMs like Ford, Volvo, Renault-Nissan, Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland-Nissan, Jaguar and Mazda. The company also has a business in aftermarket and has made a rapid progress with pan India presence.

About electric vehicles Gupta said, “Even by 2040, only 20% of the vehicles will be fully electrified. Around 80% of the vehicles will be hybrid-driven and our business path will be driven towards that.” ACI


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

AlphaOmega Captcha Medica  –  What Do You See?


* Copy This Password *

* Type Or Paste Password Here *