Text: Deepanshu Taumar

Hella India Lighting (HIL), a leading German automotive lighting manufacturer, with its strong focus on safety products, will be addressing the safety needs of two-wheeler drivers by bringing its innovative solutions to India. The company has recently developed full LED headlamp modules which can be mass customised to be used as headlamps for various customer segments including motorcycles. The company is looking for an appropriate price point to enter the market.

Module copy

“From a technology innovation point of view we are allocating significant resources to bring various lighting and signalling solutions for two-wheelers in India as they are the one, which involved in high level of road accidents in the country,” said Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, HIL.

Despite upgrading and improving traffic management practices in India, the number of road accidents is steadily increasing. Over 5 lakh accidents take place in India every year. Company has already brought various technology innovations for CV sector as they too are involved in high level of road accidents. Many of these accidents can be avoided by providing visibility solutions for drivers to react timely and helping to see and to be seen on road.

The present business of Hella India comes mainly from truck, bus, coach, and agro-construction segment owing to its winning value proposition in the area of LEDs and projector lamps. The new offerings from HIL, provides very high level of mass customisation possibility minimising investments for OEM customers. “As a leader in providing safety solutions, market expects us to drive the trends in two-wheelers also, within the next 5 years,” Pandey said.

Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, HIL

Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, HIL

“The two-wheeler market will have many new safety regulations soon as the Government of India wants to bring down road accidents by 50% before 2020. Large number of two-wheelers are involved in these accidents which partially can be reduced by better visibility norms,” he said.

It is expected that features similar to day-time running light will come as new norm very soon for this segment and as a company we are ready for it. Hella has its prototype products ready and is engaged with a few OEM customers to create Indian solutions. The company has adopted the cost innovative way to fulfil the need of a robust lighting system for motorcycles. The new two-wheeler light from Hella will have more safety features and will use better technology advancements than the existing lighting system.

To operationalise the new strategy for the special OE segment, Hella India has modernised its plant at Derabassi with the latest machines and facilities on par with Hella’s state of the art Plants around the world. An all new production area and assembly line was inaugurated by the Global Head of Special OE division, early this year.

LED Tail Lamp

LED Tail Lamp

Hella has brought many innovations in the passenger car segments including the latest matrix beam LED lamps. Hella has brought many innovations in the passenger car segments including the latest matrix LED Lamps. The heart of the matrix LED headlights is the mechanic free glare-free high beam. This allows the driver to travel in his vehicle with a permanent high beam without risk of dazzling oncoming traffic or any preceding vehicles.

By means of a camera, oncoming and preceding traffic are detected and then, by the shutting down or dimming of individual LEDs, these vehicles are blanked out of the field of high beam light distribution in real time. Hella has fitted auto levelling devices in so many cars and it continues to advance its innovation in this direction.

Learning from these technologies, Hella is working on providing safety solutions to two-wheeler segments with a much robust lighting system with day-time running lamps and auto levelling of headlamps. This will help a motorcycle driver to have uniform light output even when it brakes abruptly, because, if light goes down and up abruptly, it can lead to loss of control in night driving and accident due to fall. The biggest challenge to bring advance systems in this segment is how to make the technology affordable.

Trucks Photo copy

The lighting company is also working for the lighting system in commercial vehicles, it will bring LEDs which can be detected from long distances and accidents can be avoided by applying timely brakes. According to a calculation, some of these LED solutions ensures 3-4 meters of extra braking distance because the response time is improved by cutting the lead time. The distance of 3-4 meters is good enough to convert a fatal accident to non-fatal.

“We want to bring the kind of technology that will help reduce accidents. Because as a company we have a vision to bring technology of tomorrow for the life of today on Indian roads,” Pandey said.

Hella from its research has discovered that one of the important aspects that has been ignored while addressing road deaths involving CV users is `recognition’ of moving traffic and objects on the road. Lighting plays an important role to ensure this crucial element of `recognition’ to avoid fatal road accidents. It is very important `to see’ and `to be seen’ to avoid road fatality in emergency situations while driving on Indian roads.

“As a company, we believe that we should first have proper lighting and signalling system for proper vision and avoid creating millions of accident situations and then work on other safety features which are also critically important when an unavoidable accident situation occurs,” he said.

Upcoming Trends

Features similar to the day-time running lights in two-wheelers, LEDs and semi customised projector modules in commercial vehicles will be the new trends, once the appropriate pricing levels are achieved without compromising on quality parameters. Bus and coach segments have higher priority on safety as it is used for passenger carriers, higher technology projector lighting is the new trend among them. In 4-5 years, it is expected that this kind of technology will find its way into all other segments.

Sharing the upcoming trends in automotive lighting industry, Pandey also shared the growth trends for lighting industry in coming years. He said, “We see commercial vehicles will provide more opportunities as the market is recovering and due to competition the OEMs are in need of differentiation, especially on safety parameters and hence this segment has an appetite for innovation as frequent distortion may occur.”

Derabassi plant has been modernised with latest machineries to meet Hella’s global standards

Derabassi plant has been modernised with latest machineries to meet Hella’s global standards

Styling and OEM’s own signature statement in products is another upcoming trend. Same as the commercial vehicles, the two-wheeler segment will see a lot of excitements in terms of new products. “We will help companies to localise some of the internationally-benchmarked technologies which they have shortlisted for their upcoming models. In the aftermarket, many styling companies are entering, hence the pleasure segment will have safety and styling needs where Hella’s solutions are plenty,” Pandey added.

Plans for aftermarket

HIL has a wide portfolio of aftermarket products for every segment. In two-wheelers the company has horns and bulbs. It has recently done pre-sales activities for batteries in 2 locations, Delhi and Pune and has plans to do them in 20 more locations These battery products will be for both two-wheelers and passenger vehicles.

According to the company, Hella aftermarket business is a promise to end consumers to find affordable repairs and accessories for most of their needs over life cycle of using the vehicle. Hella aftermarket is also a brand promise of being partner to the independent aftermarket players like retailers, distributors and technicians. For example, if you have a car or two-wheeler to be repaired you need to have a choice in which either you go to OEMs which has their own price levels or else you go to a road-side mechanic but the company has something in between. It is building service stations for a good service which has trained mechanics and reliable products.

“Today Hella is not just lighting and horn in aftermarket, the company has parts like wiper blades, bulbs, relays, wiring harness, condensers, radiators, spark plugs etc. We are providing all kind of Quick Fit Parts which generally takes an average 30 minutes to 2 hours for the cars in the workshop to get repaired,” Pandey said.

Entry into battery market

“Since the launch of Hella Aftermarket in 2008, our products have been bought around 10 million times by customers who own either a two-wheeler or passenger vehicle or commercial vehicles and they are our satisfied customers. But where are they? We would like to use the opportunity of launching the battery to offer an individual customer experience and communicate with them for the entire life cycle of their driving,” Pandey said.



The company aims to sell battery in 20 cities with 20 clusters each and every cluster will have around 10 retail fronts. It has also tied-up with the e-commerce company Amazon which has built a special IT solution for the company to offer an Online to Offline (O to O) platform. Amazon will be the order booking website and the delivery would be done by a Hella authorised dealer.

But the strategy here is not only to sell the batteries but develop an ecosystem where the customer gets a freedom of choice and gets even emergency services like Remote Site assistance when ever he gets stuck on road. A customer who buys a battery gets a sticker which has a hotline number to it where the customer can call and solve his problems. The company has a national service hotline number through which it can give support to its customers anywhere in the country.

New Innovation

Hella has done innovation to its battery as well. Every battery comes with an optional provision to have a battery voltage indicator (BVI) installed on the dashboard or under it. The customer can know when the battery is dying with help of small LED which is installed on the dashboard. The company has taken the cue from the background of battery management system from premium cars. Ideally, one could have provided a state of the art Hella Battery Management System with its own sensor but due to its price point an affordable solution has been developed. The company uses the very simple red, yellow, green symbol to check and warn the battery voltage status. In the past, the company had innovated the wiper blade packaging. The wiper blades used to come in a pack of two. Hella packed only one wiper blade because customers may need only one wiper at a time.

Battery Indicator

Battery Indicator

Hella has doubled its SOE business in the last one and a half years. In the aftermarket, it has multiplied its business over the years. This year the company expects to grow much more than double digit. “In 2016-17, we will see both the segment, SOE and aftermarket business, growing strong,” Pandey concluded.


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