Harman, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, sees India emerging as its top five markets globally over the next decade, said Dinesh C Paliwal, the company’s president and chief executive.
The company is bullish on its next phase of growth and is expanding beyond car audio and infotainment to connected car solutions.
One of the world’s largest manufacturers of car audio, infotainment systems and connected car solutions, the company is working closely with global carmakers in India as well as home-grown automakers. Harman plans to supply advanced telematic solutions and futuristic cloud -based technologies for upcoming models. “We are now growing into a big family of telematic solutions, cyber solutions and cloud platform,” Paliwal told Business Standard, adding that he sees electronic content per car going up substantially even as car volumes may not grow at a brisk pace in India and outside owing to the structural changes.
Harman, the owner of JBL and Harman Kardon brands, among others, counts BMW, Harley Davidson and Daimler as its key customers for its connected car technologies.
On Monday, the local arm of the Connecticut-based firm announced an investment of ~350 crore for a 12fold increase in capacity at its facility in Chakan near Pune.
Over the next three years, production of digital cockpit units (DCU) and telematics control units (TCU) from the Chakan plant will increase from 2,00,000 units to over 25,00,000 units annually. The company also plans to double its factory headcount to about 800 employees in the same time period.
The expansion will enable the Samsung group company to manufacture complex, customised connected car electronics solutions for its large domestic and global customers, including Maruti Suzuki, Daimler (Mercedes Benz), Volkswagen Group, Tata Motors and Fiat Chrysler.
As part of the expansion, Harman will install four new SMT production/assembly lines, scaling up from the existing two to six lines, to meet the growing demands for innovative connected car solutions globally.
Paliwal said, with a base of over 9,000 employees, India has the largest workforce base among all the countries Harman has a presence in. It includes engineers in the company’s research and development centre in Bengaluru. They play an important role in development of innovative and futuristic technologies the company has been offering to global marquee brands, he said.
Connectivity is still in the early stages of adoption in India, according to a July 2018 McKinsey research report on future of passenger vehicles in India.