Gajanan Gandhe serves as Vice President of Dana India. In this role, he works across Dana’s organisation, including the business units, functional teams, and joint-venture partners, to accelerate strategic and profitable growth, including the implementation of the company’s e-mobility strategy in this important market. He and his team work to leverage the synergies across India to ensure local operational excellence, human resource management, corporate governance, compliance, ethical business practices, and corporate responsibility. He is also an active member on each of Dana’s India-based boards of directors.
Dana in India has been expanding its product portfolio. Can you tell us the journey during the last three years?
Dana supports a wide range of vehicle applications in India with driveline solutions for light-vehicle, commercial vehicles, and off-highway markets. Our acquisition of the drive systems business of Oerlikon in 2019 further enhanced our off-highway operations in the local market in India. And, just last year, we announced plans for a 4,600 square-metre facility in Pune, India, that will produce electric motors, inverters, and control units for electric vehicles.
Broadly, what are the components and systems that Dana India supplies to customers in India and ships to overseas customers?
Dana is a leading supplier of drive and motion systems, including motors, inverters, and traditional axles. We also have a robust offering of sealing and thermal management offerings, including cylinder head gaskets, oil plans, and thermal acoustical protective shielding, among many others.
To what extent have these initiatives helped Dana to increase content per vehicle?
The shift toward electrification has had a strong benefit to Dana, helping to in some cases, double the content per vehicle we can offer.
Which are the vehicle segments that you cater to now? Which segment gets a major share of revenue and why?
Dana is unique among mobility suppliers in that it supplies the light-vehicle, commercial-vehicle, and off-highway segments. Our sales are largely equally split between light and off-highway/heavy vehicle applications.
Overall, how many manufacturing facilities Dana has in India and what are the components and systems each one makes?
Dana operates 18 facilities in India, supplying drive systems, sealing, and thermal components to a broad range of vehicles and markets.
Can you update on the upcoming facility in Pune for manufacturing EV components? When will it commence production? Which are the potential customer segments that this facility can cater to?
The new facility will expand our ability to provide electric motors, inverters, and vehicle control units, and we are poised to serve as a preferred supplier with in-house capabilities to deliver complete and fully integrated e-Propulsion systems to OEM customers across all mobility markets. We expect the facility to commence production in Q2CY21.
What is the uniqueness of this facility in terms of assembly operations and sustainability?
The new facility will focus on manufacturing best in class motors and inverters for electric vehicles. The assembly lines will be equipped with Manufacturing Execution System (MES), which enables us to ensure proper tracking of all processes.
The geo-political situation helped auto component manufacturers in India to gain access to the overseas market. Has Dana India benefited from it? Please elaborate.
Dana is largely a build-where-we-sell supplier, enabling us to be closer to customers and deliver components quickly and efficiently. This approach somewhat insulates us from being impacted by shifts in policies.
Where do you see potential to expand business in India – what, according to you, are the unexplored frontiers, and how do you plan to tap them?
Electrification continues to be a new opportunity both in India and across the globe. Dana has invested some $400 million over the last three years to ensure we are able to support our customers no matter the power source. More than half of our three-year sales backlog of $700 million will come from electrification, demonstrating just how beneficial these investments have been.
Can you update on your R&D in India – has it become a centre of excellence for any research element for Dana global?
Dana operates two technology centres in India. Our facility in Pune supports all of our product groups with the development of new products, while our operations in Sanand are focused on shifting solutions for the off-highway markets.
How was calendar 2020 for Dana in India? What sort of learnings did it give?
Last year was challenging as it was for most mobility suppliers across the globe. It required us to idle nearly 100 facilities globally and rapidly return them to full production. During that period, we focused on the safety of our people, primarily, and emphasised supporting our customers to meet their needs.
Your short term and long term plans?
Dana remains focused on delivering on our enterprise strategy, which emphasises leveraging our core expertise to bring innovative technologies to market. Our long-term emphasis is to be an energy-source agnostic supplier that can deliver drive and motion systems for our customers to support their specific powertrain needs. We expect the shift to electrification to be one of the areas of focus for our customers in the future.