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Krishna Kohli, managing director, Continental Automotive Brake Systems
Krishna Kohli, managing director, Continental Automotive Brake Systems

The excerpts.

Q. At present most of the anti-lock braking system and other safety features are mandatory for motorcycles above 125cc. What’s Continental’s plan for the mass-segment bikes which hold the largest chunk of India’s two-wheeler market when legislated?

On the back of the government regulation, almost all above 125cc two-wheeler volumes have migrated to anti-lock braking system (ABS) from combined-braking system (CBS). Under this regulation, I think, it may take about two years when the government would be expanding the safety net to the mainstream 100cc segments also. We are working with this timing in mind.

Within ABS, 125cc and above is a sweet spot for single channel braking systems, though this also can be expanded further. Another is the dual channel where the bike comes with ABS on both the wheels but it is still limited to higher segments.

Now, when it comes to the mainstream market our current one channel product can also fit in there with some optimization. Besides, we are also working on solutions which are tailor-made for the Indian mass motorcycle market. Currently this solution is in early stages of design and R&D discussions. Going forward as the market is legislated for 100cc for ABS I think will be ready with the solutions which are optimized for that market.

Q. What are your plans to improve localisation to make your business more cost effective and cost competent?

Every two-wheeler and car right now has a conventional brake which is a hydraulic unit that includes clippers, actuators and disc. Apart from this, there are electronic brakes that provide next level safety with ABS. At present, the car hydraulic brake market stands at EUR 300 million in India and for two-wheelers it is about EUR 400 million.

Now the market size of electronic brakes in the country, including both the two-wheelers and the four-wheelers, is in the range of EUR 260 million-270 million. And as the adoption of ABS catches up in the coming years, this market will expand to EUR 450 million – 500 million. Both are currently complementing technologies and will co-exist in the near term.

As of now, both our hydraulic and electronic brakes are 65% and 50% localised respectively. However, in the next three years we are aiming to enhance the localisation of electronic breaks up to 70%. We will start with child part localisation and the whole process will be completed in phases keeping in focus both the technical and the commercial aspects.

Q. Do you think that the current turmoil in the market will slow down the pace of technology adoption within the domestic two-wheeler industry?

In general India has been a 24-million units two-wheeler market, barring the COVID times. Within this segment, motorcycles hold the largest share in which 80% of volumes still fall under 100cc. Considering the cost factor, the single channel ABS systemes are efficiently catering to the needs of this segment. And, going by the number ratio, high-end motorcycles are still a very niche market. So, at least in the next five years 70%-80% of the Indian two-wheeler market will remain single channel.

More than hampering technological advancements, chip shortage has created supply chain issues in the country. High-end technology adoption is a function of market need and also driven by government regulations. It’s a fact that no technology will come free. Therefore the market should also be ready to absorb that cost delta.

Q. Beyond ABS, what is in offing from Continental both for the Indian and the global markets?

The market is looking for additional safety features for the heavier segment of two-wheelers, which are upwards of 300cc.

The riders are looking for performance mode and that’s where the requirement for different ride modes comes in. Beyond this, optimised curve braking (OCB) and rear lift protection (RLP) are some of the features which will hit the India market soon. Though there’s no mandate regarding these, seeing the customer interest we are actively engaging with multiple Indian OEMs for implementation of these solutions.

In the overseas market, we are also providing cybersecurity and ARAS functionality, which is in a broader way similar to ADAS features in cars, to our customers.