Magneti Marelli CEO Pietro Gorlier Talks About the Future of AMT in India
Italian auto component major Magneti Marelli is one of the biggest suppliers of AMT transmissions in India with their units being used by automakers like Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors.
Magnetti Marelli CEO Pietro Gorlier (L) with Saju Mookken, Country Head and Managing Director, Magneti Marelli India (R). (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Cars with Automated Manual Transmission or AMT, in short, are getting increasingly popular in India. One of the reasons behind that is the ease of driving they offer in everyday city traffic as well as highway. On top of that, they are more cost efficient for automakers, which eventually, makes the car available to the end customer at a relatively affordable price as compared to a conventional torque converter automatic gearbox equipped vehicle.
And when we talk about AMT transmissions then it’s hard not to talk about the Italian auto component major Magneti Marelli. They are one of the biggest suppliers of AMT transmissions in India with their units being used by automakers like Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors.
The company is also a key player globally when it comes to areas like lighting solutions, telematics and infotainment systems. Currently, the company has 89 production plants across the globe and is an employer to over 43,000 employees.
We recently had a roundtable conference with the Chief Executive Officer of Magnetti Marelli - Pietro Gorlier, and here are the key takeaways with edited excerpts:
Q. Could you explain the AMT gearbox trend, the acceptability of the AMT Gearbox in India and how it has grown over time. Also, what kind of a future do you see for AMT in India?
A. AMT is a great solution for the automation of the gearbox particularly for the Indian market where price plays a key role in the buying decision. We mostly look for a possible solution for the evolution of the automotive industry.
The development of the AMT solution is a continuous process to make it cost effective and make it more competitive. We also have a new type of product (or prototype) which is the hybridization of the gearbox, the energy of which depends on the type of power that is used to make the technique more hybrid, and, to contribute to the latest emission norms. We need to follow the emission target in every market, for example, Euro VI and BS VI. We are in the process of formulating a very efficient way to provide an automated transmission for BSVI in India.
Q. Which are all the companies you have a JV within India for your AMT gearbox apart from Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors?
A. We have joint ventures with Maruti Suzuki and Hero. We are in discussions with other car makers as well to increase our footprint in the market. When we entered the market, we had only two percent of the full automation in the market, but now we can see other AMT makers coming in. Several automaker companies, including the companies we have JV with, are in talks with us to eventually introduce more advanced products into their cars. In the times to come, you will get to hear some news of new associations.
Q. What is Magneti Marelli’s view on the future of the powertrain because electrification is happening at a fast pace and at the same time we are seeing efforts to extend the life of the conventional technology.
A. With the kind of changes in emission norms taking place throughout the world, electrification of Powertrain will be accepted gradually. We will perhaps see a bigger change towards highly developed hybridization and electrification. Most of the global players are now working towards the electrification of powertrain and hybridization. A lot must be done in terms of infrastructural improvements in order to support the full electrification. However, the most important factor is the price of the electric vehicles which will remain relatively high for next 5-10 years, hence we don’t see an immediate conversion in the electrification of the powertrain.
We believe, there is a huge scope of improvement in the emission of the engines. For instance, the high-pressure injectors - GDI is already a technology in use, which has a significant advantage for the emission norms. Therefore, the conventional engine keeps on improving with high-pressure injectors.
Q. Three years down the line, by 2020, we are looking at BSVI emission norms in India. What are the expected changes in the technology?
A. When it comes to AMT, our focus is to maintain the quality and competitiveness, in terms of price. The OEMs are looking for hybridization, and the exhaust also plays a very important role in the process of emission.
Q. Where do you see the challenges in tackling those BSVI emission norms, because right now we are not using equipment that supports BSVI.
A. We have a lot of programs in India, with most of the OEMs where we started producing both electric motors, essentially for the part of the possible electrification of vehicles. We have most of the programs that we will start the production from 2019, and I think in India probably a year later, 2020.
Q. Globally, your revenue stands at 7.9 billion Euros in 2016. if you could give us some sense of your operations in India as to what the turnover is like and how critical is it.
A. India is a strong asset for us, Magneti Marelli has 89 production plants all over the world, out of which 12 are located in India. Therefore, the Indian facilities contribute to our revenues to a great extent.
Our plan was to improve by 10% in 2016, and it stood at 15 billion (1500 Cr), which is a considerably good number. We have a concrete plan in order to improve the revenues at a significant rate.
We had planned to triple our revenues from where we stood in 2015. Since we follow the same plan and there will be a considerable development in terms of revenue in the next couple of years. We have set aggressive targets and we are moving towards a significant path of growth, and we will hit double digits in next couple of years.
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