Upfront With Nippon Paint IndiaNippon Paint India

Nippon Paints India is aspiring big! Ashish Bhatia focuses on the link between the automotive division’s global strides and India’s successes.

The high footfall at the Nippon Paint India Automotive Division booth at the 20th Automechanika Dubai edition paints a clear picture of the company inching closer to realising global aspirations. Here, penetration in the broader Middle East, a central trading link for markets that are difficult to reach connecting the broader Middle East, Africa, Asia and key CIS countries for automotive refinish and collision repair is a firm focus area. It is a significant market opportunity for the NIPSEA Group company. Nippon Paint Middle East (NPME), the subsidiary company has kept this seemingly uphill task attainable. The entity draws learnings from the Automotive Divisions’ India success story and strives to replicate it in the Middle East as the first major milestone. A mantra for its global growth! Poised to expand its presence in such emerging markets with advanced, technology-driven automotive solutions to back the OEM and or ODM partners, the company is also receiving interest from markets like the EU. Sharad Malhotra, President – of Automotive Refinishes and Wood Coatings, Nippon Paint India drew attention to the headroom for global growth in the automotive paints and coatings segment. “There’s a lot of talk about how the Middle Eastern market is in an economic slump but we’ve experienced that everything is very upbeat and from our perspective this a very positive sign for the paint and coating segment in this particular market.”


Sharad Malhotra, President – Automotive Refinishes and Wood Coatings, Nippon Paint India.

Good solutions meet market success

Of the firm belief that good products will create a market opportunity for themselves, Malhotra explained that this applies not just to Nippon Paints but its competitors as well creating a level playing field. Admitting to the market opportunity in India being bigger when quantified, the Middle East opportunity is also deemed sizeable. The momentum built today however can be traced back to the Covid-19 pandemic when Nippon set foot in the Middle East. The groundwork was laid under the aegis of Alpansh Sharma, General Manager at Nippon Paint Middle East (NPME), United Arab Emirates. In 2021, Sharma visited UAE to gauge the market but was forced to stay put for a good six months owing to the Delta wave. In an upfront conversation, he shared how the whole idea was to rely on the technical backbone, an innovation environment and build on the experience gathered by the Division in India.

Alpansh Sharma, General Manager at Nippon Paint Middle East (NPME), United Arab Emirates.


With the region (Middle East) run by mainly ex-pats comprising Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, it took a while before the company could crack the market dynamics. In about a little over a quarter, the company found itself in a better state as per Sharma. “We have been able to get the right strategies on the ground and we have been able to create widespread channels in six months,” he shared. On gaining the desired confidence and clarity on the road map to be pursued thereafter, it was decided to leverage the widespread Indian diaspora. The Automotive Division is counting on the strong community to action its plans even in markets like Africa, for example, in Kenya where the Gujaratis are in abundance. This holds good for companies of Indian origin as it makes them feel at home and gives an instant connection into the market forayed, opined Malhotra. He reiterated the Japanese roots of the company as an automotive refinish, aftermarket business, headquartered from India.

The company showcased the n-MAX SB colour solutions that included the 630 2K Hardener, 6300 performance 2K Clear, EU 92X Toner, EUB1K Toner, 6200 2:1 Clear, and 620 2:1 Hardener. It also showcased the nax 2150 PU Primer and the nax 2150 PU Primer Hardener.  The nax Premila 2K Filling Putty is claimed to offer excellent filling and exceptional finish capability. In the nax Crystal range, the company showcased the 2K Hardener with enhanced scratch resistance, gasoline and chemical resistance, mirror image clear and lasting shine in a 0.5-litre can. The 9905 is also based on the CyGlaz technology and comes in a one-litre can; Premila 2K nb 100 B/C Binder in a four-litre can; 9800 velocity clear 2K 2:1 fast dry and high productivity in a one-litre can; 980 HP 2K Hardener in a 0.5-litre can, Premila 2K Master Tint MT-06A in a one-litre can. It also showcased the Premila 2K 9600 Clear 2K Extra Solid 2:1 and 210 2K Hardener with claims of easy-to-spray and high gloss buildability in a one-litre can. In the N-Power range, the company displayed the Plastics Primer 1K, 421 2K Clear, Fine Silver, 215 2K Clear 2:1, and the 215 Hardener (440 offers Ultra Gloss Clear). The nax Superio range comprised 921 2k Hardener 2:1, 921 2K Clear 2:1 and the SB 400 2K Solid for excellent gloss and clarity. The ST 100 Toner, 221 2K Clear and 221 2K Hardener were also displayed. n-Force X6 rubbing compound in a one kg bottle, X9 fine-cut paste and X 51  masking tape were also a part of the display. The 7.5-inch X-45 wool pad is claimed to offer higher durability and excellent performance on all paint systems.

Standalone hubs

India and UAE are both Nippon Paint hubs in their own right. Malhotra explained how each held its own for the company’s respective objectives: Serving UAE from India and or global markets through the UAE. “For a lot of the customers of the Middle East, India serves as a supply chain partner but in the future, once we have manufacturing established here, we would use the Middle East manufacturing as a base to further our aspirations to regions like Africa or Europe or Central Asia,” he elaborated. It’s one company and we work in that spirit, he exclaimed.

Currently, the focus is deemed to be equal with direct accountability from the supply side as well as the demand side. In the current fiscal, on a YTD basis, the company is building on the momentum gained from good growth in FY23 when the economy bounced back. The focus this fiscal is to try to grow organically on a higher base. “The business is looking good, last year we did decently well close to Rs.500 crore in the automotive aftermarket, besides in other segments like Industrial coatings including the CV business,” he pointed out. “This year we expect to grow at around 21 per cent as well so we hope that in the next three years, we can double up this in India and the Middle East,” he mentioned. Clarifying that the Middle East growth story is not percentages alone. Being an old battleground, the company prefers to gauge growth in multiples of the base year. For example, it did not plan to grow 4x of the FY21 business in FY22 and approximately 2x in FY23 giving it the confidence to tap into the headroom.


The company has also improved its operating margins. For example, the logistics costs have been controlled since the company first started in the pandemic fiscal. Back then the supply chains were shaken up. Not a standalone scenario as the disruptions impacted companies across the board given that the selling prices did not factor these to the fuller extent. The company today pegs the margins as “nominal” yet satisfying. In its attempt to pass through the maximum possible benefits to the customer, whether it’s the Middle East or India for that matter, the attempt has been to attain transparency as a long-term player in the automotive refinish business. With this approach, the company is focusing on older hubs like Sharjah and more recent hubs like Dubai where the green class body shop setups and dealership setups are known to have grown. As an infra-growth-driven economy, UAE on the lines of India ticks many boxes and presents significant headroom to Nippon Paint in the automotive aftermarket among its other segments of interest. In India, the company is also investing in R&D to align with the specific requirements and compliance with the changing face of the railway locomotives as the other emerging opportunities the company hopes to make headway in over the next two years. The company has also acquired D-Act Co. Ltd. Thailand, a well-known manufacturer of CV, AR and specialised industrial coatings to bolster its standing.

Exact matching of colours at refinishing repair centres

Fresh of the Sri Lankan sojourn, the company’s latest six-angle spectrophotometer for the exact matching of colours in auto-refinishing was launched as the first of its kind. This six-angle spectrophotometer ensures 100 per cent colour accuracy. The company n-MAX SB colour solutions have been developed based on European Technology with a Toner-to-Toner system and an extensive range of toners. It offers ease and accuracy of colour matching and is a perfect solution for Refinish Repair Centres. The key features include more than 20,000 formulations available in the database along with 12,000-plus unique formulae. At Automechanika, the company showcased the ‘Paint Partner’ spectrophotometer that is AI-powered. It is claimed to offer more powerful, versatile and accurate results leveraging a global database. The option to search and correct, using a machine learning algorithm, offers a body shop management tool backed by database building with the local library. Dinesh Thakur, Leader of Colour Excellence at Nippon Paint demonstrated two machines: Artemis and Athena using a basic colour base as a reference point and taking us through the solid colour characteristic chart. The difference between the two machines is that an added camera gives it the ability to pick up textural inputs like surface scratches. It also gauges the thickness of aluminium for example in the advanced variant with the lower variant limited to rendering the colour chart.

Also, read this https://autocomponentsindia.com/nippon-paint-launches-n-max-range-of-automotive-refinish-paints/


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