sonaTraining session in progress

The company focuses on containing manufacturing cost to build a more efficient business Sona Koyo Steering Systems, India’s leading steering manufacturer is following the ‘look elsewhere’ policy to beat the slowdown blues. The company, which gets most of its business from the passenger car segment, is now shifting focus towards the agricultural sector. While the passenger car segment has put out its worst performance in over a decade, the agri business has managed to evade a direct blow from the slowing economy.

“We are going to focus on the Indian farm equipment market in the future,” says Sunjay Kapur, managing director, Sona Koyo Steering Systems. The only thing that is doing well today is the rural sector. “So we see some kind of growth there,” he adds. The year 2013 experienced timely and good monsoons, which translated into higher production and better farmer sentiments. This led to a growth of over 20 percent in the tractor segment. This market, three years ago, was on a downtrend. Now it is growing steadily and is expected to grow for another five to seven years. Finding better traction in the agri equipment segment is one of the many steps Sona Koyo has taken to ensure that the impact of a bad year is minimal. Kapur explained that it was during the downturn that one gets opportunities to do a lot of training and optimisation.

sona_1The company focuses on containing manufacturing cost to build a more efficient business

The company began as Sona Steering in 1987, a time when Maruti had just started manufacture. It had a technical collaboration with a company called Koyo Seiko which is now the JTEKT. Primarily in the passenger car steering business, it is also present in the small commercial vehicle segment. As the technology shifted from hydraulic power steering to column-type electronic power steering, Sona Koyo set up subsidiaries to gain expertise in these technologies. Sona holds 49 percent in JTEKT Sona Automotive India (JSAI) whereas JTEKT holds 51 percent. The company supplies Colum-type Electric Power Steering (C-EPS) to Toyota, Nissan and MSIL and other car makers. Sona Koya


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