DH LIGHTING – EXCELITE: Evolving into a luminary force in Indian market

Company all set to enter next phase of growth with new R&D Centre and second production facility in India

In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive lighting, DH Lighting India has emerged not just as an industry player but as a trailblazer, navigating through the twists and turns with unparalleled resilience and strategic foresight. Motorindia’s N. Balasubramanian speaks to Harish Sharma, Director, DH Lighting India on their company’s journey unfolding as a saga of brilliance, innovation, and market prowess. This is not merely a company weathering the storms of change but a luminary force shaping the very future it illuminates.

DH Lighting has put up a robust performance, achieving double-digit growth in the first nine months of FY23-24. Acknowledging the market shift from halogen to LED, Harish emphasizes a more aggressive pursuit of LED business, especially in OEMs and retrofit LED markets. The introduction of new products, including general drive LEDs for off-roading vehicles and projector lamps, underscores DH Lighting’s commitment to innovation.

Strategic Positioning and Brand Excellence
From its inception, DH Lighting has carved a niche by focusing on quality over cost. Says Harish, “We are committed to delivering high-quality products while creating employment opportunities in India. DH Lighting stands out with our LED retrofit assembly unit in India which is a rare feat in the aftermarket. Our ‘Excelite’ brand has not only gained traction but has become synonymous with reliability and innovation, making it a household name in India.

With a primary focus on the passenger car segment, DH Lighting clocks over 80% of its sales from this segment, holding OEM positions with Hyundai, Kia Motors, and Mahindra. Looking ahead, the company plans to introduce new products for two-wheelers in the last quarter of FY24 and for the commercial vehicle segment around April this year.
While acknowledging the highly competitive nature of the Indian market, Harish emphasizes the role of trust and relationships with distributors: “Beyond product quality, the seamless collaboration with distributors, retailers, and wholesalers has been pivotal in establishing and expanding DH Lighting’s presence across the country.”

New R&D Centre and Production Facility
In a forward-looking move, DH Lighting India will be establishing an R&D Centre at its existing facility in Faridabad, focusing on software development for OEMs and EVs. The company aims to enhance functionalities, reduce electricity consumption in EVs, and introduce cutting-edge technology to stay ahead in the rapidly evolving automotive lighting industry.

Harish reveals, “Our current focus is on LED modules for OEMs, and to step up our capabilities in this space, we are setting up an R&D center in India for development of software for lighting in EV vehicles. This move is in anticipation to the future need for software-controlled lighting systems, enhancing functionalities and reducing energy consumption in electric vehicles.

With an existing LED retrofit production capacity of 30,000 units per month in India, DH Lighting is gearing up for further expansion. A new facility in Neemrana, Rajasthan is on the horizon, promising four times the current capacity that would prepare the company to meet escalating future demand and fortify its position in the market. DH Lighting is also planning to export its India-made LED retrofit lights to countries across the globe once the new facility goes on stream.

Strong & Sustained Growth in Aftermarket
DH Lighting maintains a robust presence in both OEM and aftermarket segments, with a clear delineation in business proportions. The aftermarket constitutes a significant 70% of the company’s operations, underscoring its expertise and focus in this sector. On the flip side, OEMs contribute 30%, emphasizing a balanced approach to market penetration.

In the aftermarket, DH Lighting has strategically expanded its network, boasting around 35 distributors covering pan-India regions. These distributors ensure its brand is made available to over 15,000 retailers, ensuring accessibility to its products across diverse regions.

Recognizing the evolving dynamics of customer engagement, DH Lighting is adapting to the preferences of the younger generation. Leveraging platforms like Instagram and WhatsApp, the company is actively engaging with consumers, providing them with an avenue to seek information and resolve queries. This digital shift aligns with the contemporary ways in which consumers prefer to interact with brands, ensuring a seamless and responsive experience.

Road Safety Challenges and Initiatives
As a manufacturer of lighting products which are critical for road safety, DH Lighting acknowledges the pressing road safety challenges in India. “Commercial trucks lacking proper lighting, especially in foggy conditions, pose significant safety concerns. Education is crucial, emphasizing the importance of proper lighting, including backlights, and adhering to safety regulations. Initiatives to promote the use of daylights and blinkers, particularly in foggy regions, can contribute to reducing accidents caused by poor visibility”, opines Harish.

Building on the road safety narrative, DH Lighting is proactively involved in safety initiatives. Recognizing the prevalence of blindingly bright lights on the roads, the company is committed to educating consumers on the responsible usage of lighting products. The focus is on striking a balance between the demand for brightness and the safety concerns of oncoming drivers, especially on roads lacking proper street lighting.

Future Focus and Market Expansion
Looking ahead, DH Lighting delineates its strategic focus for the future. While continuing to work on existing OEM projects, the primary emphasis will be on expanding its footprint in the aftermarket through relevant initiatives that resonate with its customer base. Simultaneously, it will continue its discussions with potential OEM partners, aiming to add one or two prestigious accounts to its portfolio and further fortify its market presence.

Our primary focus remains on the aftermarket, with continuous efforts to enhance brand visibility. We are actively participating in local expos, campaigns, and other initiatives. While challenges exist, we believe in aligning with government policies, ensuring fair business practices, and meeting the expectations of our customers and partners in the years to come”, Harish signs off.