HOV makes trailblazing entry into trailer component space

 

With in-house innovation and development, complemented by pan-India sales and service network, HOV Auto is all set to rev up the heavy-duty trailer components market in India.

HOV Auto, a newbie component supplier in the Indian trailer component industry, seems to have tacitly grasped the huge potential available in the country’s trailer market. Rather than focussing only on sales of its products, the company, in its very opening move, is also laying down self-owned service networks at key locations across the country for easy availability of spare parts and prompt servicing of products.

On our way from Delhi to Jaipur to attend HOV Auto’s launch function, we came across the highway towns of Behror and Shahpura which are virtually ‘trailer towns’. They host thousands of trailer workshops and roadside mechanic kiosks on either side of the expressway. They are largely unorganised and informal, occupying the entire stretch of service lanes in which tractor-trailer units are parked and serviced, at some places even extending up to the white line of the highway.

All types of services are undertaken, from replacement and rethreading of tyres to adjustment and greasing of axles, drum brakes, and suspension, all using traditional means and know-hows. Although one can observe a notable shift in the industry to organised trailer manufacturing in recent years, their servicing and maintenance are predominantly on the unorganised side. With the rising demand for trailers and implementation of the proposed trailer code in the coming years that is likely to standardise all of its critical components, this scenario of unorganised and cost-cutting service of trailers is bound to change. This is where HOV Auto’s entry into trailer component manufacturing could be a game-changer, especially given its holistic approach right from the word ‘Go’ as seen from the company’s commitment at its launch function.

At the HOV Auto grand launch in Jaipur are Mr. Jatinder Singh, Managing Director, Mr. Shankar. R, Vice-President – Sales (OEM), and Mr. Samir Bhargava, General Manager – Sales and Service, (sixth, fifth and eighth from left respectively), with members of the company’s senior management

“We have received overwhelming response from trailer makers and end customers for our initiatives on servicing, as standardised service has never been so great in India”, said Mr. Shankar R, Vice-President – Sales (OEM). Moreover, offering quality lubrication systems and products that are designed and tested for longer performance helps in this regard, he added. But that’s not all. HOV is also launching educational centres called ‘YatMit’ at various locations to build awareness among the trailer makers and fleets in the unorganised sector on the long-term benefits of using standardised and quality components. This is likely to forge regular customer engagement that can help build trust on the brand. A dedicated customer care helpline on pan-India basis is also in place.

Brand and products

But before moving ahead, let’s dig a bit into the genesis of this spic-and-span brand ‘HOV’ that stands for “Heart of Vehicles”! For any start-up brand, there has to be some kind of a driving energy to push its growth. The Managing Director, Mr. Jatinder Singh, said that it is sheer passion for the components industry that drives the company from behind, thereby bringing in the best minds, infrastructure and technology. With the rich experiences in trailer manufacturing of its parent company, HOV’s aspirations in the trailer components industry are endless – developing superior quality products defined by their cutting edge technologies, while also building strong, sustainable and durable relationships with its end-users, OEMs, trailer manufacturers, fleet owners, and the dealer and distribution network. “Our growth attribute is possible only when we work without any trust deficit”, he added.

The Driving Force – the spirited HOV Auto management team

Resorting to the built-in quality approach, the company claims that its products are designed and tested for global standard by keeping in mind the rigorous and unique operational conditions prevalent in our country.

To start with, HOV has launched three critical components as a part of its product portfolio – trailer axle, S-cam drum braking system, and mechanical suspension (leaf-spring type) for bi-axle and tri-axle trailer configurations. The entire axle units are offered in five variants in each of two load ratings – 11 tonnes and 13 tonnes – for speed of up to 105 kmph. The spring track lengths are made as per customer requirements, while the axles feature S-cam air-operated brakes that are ABS compliant. The brakes are available in two variants with varying shoe width – 180mm and 200mm. The liners are non-asbestos, while brake shoes are powder-coated to prevent corrosion. The design and development of these products are done in-house, utilising the local talents and the “Make in India” spirit to serve market demands.

Said Mr. Shankar: “Our initial target groups are trailer manufacturers, with focus on Rajasthan, Punjab-Haryana and the Chhattisgarh region”. In fact, Rajasthan is the largest trailer market in India. No wonder why HOV, a company headquartered in Gurugram with its manufacturing facility in the Gujarat Industrial zone, decided to host the debut event at Jaipur.

Haryana remains the biggest market for car carrier trailers in the country, while the Bilaspur region in Chhattisgarh is also a huge market for heavy duty trailers. After getting a hold in the components market, HOV is planning to venture into newer products like wheel rims, air suspensions, drive axles and shafts, lift axles, etc. HOV Auto is making an investment to the tune of Rs. 100 crores under the ‘Make in India’ scheme for the manufacture of a range of trailer components  starting with axles, suspensions, foundation brakes, kingpins and landing gears.

As for sales targets, the General Manager of HOV (Sales and Service), Mr. Samir Bhargava, said: “We are eyeing around 5,000 units in this financial year and to achieve a market share of at least 15 per cent by 2018-19. With the predicted demand-driven growth of the trailer market in India in the coming years, we are confident that HOV can garner a 30 per cent market share by 2019-2020. We are well-prepared for the growing competition in the trailer components industry and to achieve the set target, thanks to our production capacity and positive market response.”

On the scope for the aftermarket, Mr. Bhargava said that the market is highly price-conscious. Yet, with growing standardisation in trailer manufacturing, end-users are also showing interest in paying for quality products. The company effort at directly reaching out to the customer will positively pay off.

Opportune Moment

HOV’s entry into the trailer components industry is well-timed. With the fast recovery of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in the sales chart since last couple of years, demand for semi- and heavy-duty trailers is on the rise. All OEMs, apart from launching diverse variants of 49-tonner tractor units, are also venturing into trailer manufacturing and outsourcing to cater to their customers.

The introduction of the Basic Trailer Code and its implementation in the days to come is likely to reform the trailer industry, pushing towards use of quality products of safety and efficiency compliance. The advent of the GST regime is also expected to boost the long-haulage trailer demand. Thus, a lot of consolidation and integration of stakeholders is happening in the industry.

In terms of numbers, the Indian trailer market is expected to grow at 9.5 per cent CAGR during 2016-2020, with an anticipated production of some 71,249 units in 2020 against 52,468 last year, as per a report by Race Innovations. Any such demand-driven expansion is a goldmine for component suppliers like HOV. Coupled with the company’s extra-mile efforts for building service capacities and trust among its customers, it can easily leverage on the occasion with flying colours.

When I heard that HOV stands for “Heart of Vehicles”, I wondered how come axles and related components qualify to be the ‘heart’ of commercial vehicles. For trailers, it is OK. But HOV believes that the engine of the truck is normally the ‘brain’ behind all movement, and its products constitute the lusty ‘heart’ that creates the desired circulation, thus the driving energy. Sounds sensible, isn’t it?

 

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