Elektrobit India Poised To Lead As Global R&D Powerhouse

T Murrali
15 May 2024
07:00 AM
3 Min Read

The India team is of immense strategic importance to the company, contributing significantly to execution, skill development, and scalability.


The Bengaluru-based Indian arm of Elektrobit is on the brink of making history as the largest Research and Development (R&D) centre within its network.

During her recent visit to India, Maria Anhalt, CEO of Elektrobit, shared her insights with Mobility Outlook and highlighted the country's rapid ascent in the company's global footprint. Currently, Elektrobit's headquarters in Germany holds the top spot, with India centre ranking as the second-largest. However, Anhalt expressed confidence that with the current growth trajectory, Elektrobit India is on track to become the largest R&D site soon.

The India team holds immense strategic importance for the company, contributing significantly to execution, skill development, and scalability. Leveraging the abundant talent, diverse roles, and extensive experience within the local ecosystem, the team is pivotal in driving the company's growth trajectory and fostering connections within the region. Therefore, Anhalt's recent visit holds particular significance as she sought to engage directly with the team, gaining insights into their progress, challenges, and opportunities for further collaboration and advancement.

Elektrobit boasts a workforce of approximately 4,000 individuals globally, with roughly 18% to 20% stationed in India. Operating across the Americas, Europe, and the Asia Pacific, the company has experienced robust expansion worldwide, notably with its flourishing operations in India. Rather than measuring growth by individual countries, Elektrobit prioritises its global product lines, delivering products and services to customers worldwide. While maintaining a global outlook, the company acknowledges the importance of localising solutions when necessary, which is particularly evident in regions like China and other parts of Asia. According to her, this approach not only ensures operational efficiency but also enables tailored solutions to meet specific needs, considering factors such as cost sensitivity and market preferences. As Anhalt put it, adapting solutions for diverse markets, such as the two-wheeler segment in India versus the US market, underscores Elektrobit's importance in delivering customised and effective solutions globally.

Maria Anhalt and Satish Sundaresan

When questioned about quantifying the growth trajectory in India, Anhalt noted that the growth projections are contingent upon the pace of expansion in other regions, considering its diverse range of operations encompassing R&D, product services, and commercial endeavours.

It may be recalled that Elektrobit opened a new centre in Kochi, Kerala, last year. Would the India operations look at another location beyond Bangalore and Kochi? In response, Satish Sundaresan, Managing Director of India & Chief Strategy Officer at Elektrobit, stated that currently, the focus remains on optimising operations in Kochi, ensuring that the company extracts maximum value from this new location. As it continues to familiarise itself with the opportunities presented in Kochi, the expansion plans, therefore, will be guided by market maturity and evolving industry dynamics. With the current hybrid work environment proving effective, the company remains adaptable, leveraging remote work capabilities to maintain agility in its operations. 'We want to be as agile and nimble as possible,' Sundaresan added.

Plans For India

Anhalt shared insights into Elektrobit's ongoing initiatives in India, highlighting the company's strategic focus on continuous growth. Since establishing its India operations in 2016, Elektrobit has experienced substantial expansion, particularly in its R&D endeavours. Currently, the India R&D centre is a pivotal contributor, with over 90% of the global product portfolio being co-developed locally.

Elektrobit aims to consolidate product development across fewer locations to enhance efficiency in line with its optimisation efforts initiated three years ago. Anhalt emphasised the importance of global collaboration in new product development, advocating for a maximum of two to three locations for optimal scalability and cost-effectiveness. This approach not only streamlines operations but also fosters a more agile and productive workforce.

Furthermore, Elektrobit is keen to nurture the maturity of its India operation beyond being a mere talent pool for outsourced tasks. Anhalt stressed the importance of local ownership and high-level partnerships in R&D endeavours. Sundaresan's dual role as Managing Director of India and Chief Strategy Officer for Elektrobit Global serves as a testament to this approach, she pointed out. Therefore, the company is actively seeking to empower more professionals from India operations to take on global roles, spanning product management, business development, and sales functions, thereby driving innovation and growth on a global scale.


Recognising Ongoing Transformation In India

During her visit to India, Anhalt made it a point to engage directly with customers, recognising the ongoing transformation within the automotive industry. India boasts prominent global players such as Mahindra and Tata, yet the emergence of electric vehicle manufacturers signifies a broader shift in the market landscape. Understanding how mobility providers in the region integrate software content is crucial; hence, it is important to gather local impressions firsthand, she averred.

Anhalt stressed the company's objective of sharing its wealth of local and global experience to contribute to and support the ongoing transformation in the Indian market. The company aims to participate in this journey actively, leveraging its expertise to enhance and facilitate the evolution of mobility solutions in India, she signed off.

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