Story : Bhargav TS

Pricol has been part of the evolution of speedometers – from stanalone instruments to clusters. After catering to two-wheeler and commercial vehicles for more than quarter century, the Coimbatorebased Pricol Limited has clinched a deal from Renault Nissan in India to supply oil and water pumps.

This is the first business for the company from the passenger car segment to supply powertrain components.

The 40-year old company has also cast its mid-term plan to setup a manufacturing facility either in Chennai or in a location in Gujarat to support its local and multi-national OEMs. Began its operations by manufacturing rounded instruments including speedometers the company now has four streams of products – instrument cluster (driver information system), sensors and switches, power train products and fleet management solutions.

pricol_aK U Subbaiah, CEO, Pricol

“Till today we have been supplying oil and water pumps to the twowheelers and commercial vehicles, but now we have made an entry into the four-wheeler segment. We will send the first prototype by middle of this year. Initially we will supply 300,000 units annually to Renault Nissan in Chennai for their entry-level cars.,” said K U Subbaiah, CEO, Pricol.

Off late, OEMs have increasingly queried Pricol on new products that it can develop. From a range of powertrain parts, especially auto fuel cocks, chain tensioners and oil pumps for two-wheelers, the company will develop new generation products in the areas of sensors and switches, telematics, oil and water pumps for commercial vehicles.

pricol_bNextGen Pumps
It may be recalled that Pricol has established a technical tie-up with German-based component manufacturer IAV in 2011 to make oil and water pumps. The tie-up has come in handy for the company to cater to Renault-Nissan India with the next generation pumps – variable speed oil pumps. The new breed of pump has an advantage of achieving better fuel efficiency by metering the oil depending on the engine RPM.

The instrument clusters in passenger vehicles are getting modernised every year. Since Pricol felt that it would be appropriate to partner with some of the global instrument cluster manufacturers, it join hands with the two global companies, Johnson Controls and Denso, adds Subbaiah.

pricol_cJohnson Controls Pricol (JCP), a 50:50 joint venture between Johnson Controls and Pricol formed in early 2012. While the JV is focussing on instrument clusters, the Body Control Modules (BCM), immobilisers and driver information systems are on the cards. The idea of this JV is to leverage frugal engineering capabilities of Pricol, especially in two-wheeler segment and use engineering capabilities of Johnson Controls. JCP is located at Pricol’s instrument cluster production unit in Pune, from where it caters to Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), Tata Motors, GM India and Bajaj Auto.

Pricol’s JV with Denso is in to design and manufacturing instrument clusters for passenger vehicles. It is looking for various options to expand its business.

Pricol currently holds about 35 percent market share in instrument clusters for two wheelers. “We have been getting new enquiries from all the major customers. We believe our market share will go up to 40 per cent in the coming years. Currently we supply our instrument clusters to Hero Motocorp and Bajaj; soon we will be supplying to a Japanese twowheeler major,” he said.

Pricol has always been in the forefront in terms of new product development. A testimony to this is its spend on R&D; the company spends close to about four per cent of its top line for R&D and engineering. In the year 2012-13, Pricol recorded a standalone turnover of Rs 822 crore and is expecting growth even in the sluggish situation on account of healthy order book due to increase in growth in two-wheeler and tractor segment. ACI



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