COMPONENTS Construction Equipment

Empowering Construction and Beyond

A Conversation with Gajanan V. Gandhe, Country Lead and Vice President of Dana India

In an exclusive interview at EXCON 2023, Motorindia’s N. Balasubramanian sat down with Gajanan V. Gandhe, Country Lead and Vice President of Dana India, to delve into Dana’s pivotal role in the construction equipment sector, electrification trends, and the company’s expansive footprint in India. From showcasing cutting-edge products at the exhibition to discussing the transformative impact of electrification, Gandhe provides insights into Dana’s strategies, customer relationships, and its outlook on growth in the ever-evolving landscape of the automotive industry.

What is Dana’s focus at EXCON 2023; what are you showcasing to the industry and your customers here?

Dana, being a global multinational, is represented in 38 countries, with a significant presence in India across various business units. Our focus at EXCON is on construction equipment and related applications. We are showcasing axles, hub motors, and our latest product – transmissions with twin motors and twin inverters. The idea is to collaborate with customers, understand their needs, and deliver tailored solutions, leveraging our expertise and commitment to quality.

Dana seems to have a strong presence in the construction equipment and related applications space in the Indian market. Can you tell us more about your OE customers and the percentage of your overall business coming from this space?
Dana has a robust presence in this sector, serving major players like JCB and Tata Hitachi. Virtually, every commercial vehicle and construction equipment company in India, including Tata Motors, Ashok Leyland, Volvo-Eicher, Mahindra and Switch Mobility, are our customers. Around 40% of our business in India is in off-highway and commercial vehicles, with construction equipment contributing around 20-24%.

The trend of electrification is shaping the construction equipment space. Where do you see India in terms of electrification in the CE sector, and how do you envision this trend evolving?
Electrification is gaining momentum, especially in limited-use cases, like industrial material handling and mining. Mining, in particular, benefits from electrification due to reduced emissions and the need for substantial power. In road construction, the heavy commercial vehicles might lean towards hydrogen fuel, while small commercial vehicles and last-mile mobility are heading towards 100% electrification. Balancing operational hours with charging cycles is crucial for widespread adoption.

At present , globally, electrification contributes around 5-6% to Dana’s revenues. With substantial investments and a focus on electrification, we anticipate this figure rising to 15-20% by 2026. Dana is committed to this shift, evident in the construction of six plants globally and significant manpower dedicated to electrification development and manufacturing.

India has been a vital part of Dana’s global sourcing strategy. Can you elaborate on how important India is to Dana’s global operations?
Dana India plays a crucial role in Dana’s global supply chain, exporting 40% of its products worldwide. With over products and parts worth $700 million exported annually, Dana considers India an essential supply base. Over the last fifty years, Dana has expanded its presence in India with 16-18 plants, by exporting products to Dana’s global network, as well as to other customers.

Looking at the medium- to long-term, what kind of business growth does Dana foresee?
Growth is a dynamic aspect, influenced by various factors. While Dana has achieved substantial growth in recent years, the focus remains on quality, delivery, cost-effectiveness, customer relationships, technological expertise, and effective management. Growth is a controllable factor, influenced by the company’s strategic initiatives and the dedication of its workforce.

How important is collaboration for achieving growth, and does Dana foresee collaboration playing a pivotal role in its future plans?
Collaboration is inherent in Dana’s approach, which is also evident in multiple joint ventures and strategic alliances we have with companies like Anand Group, TVS-Wheels India Group, Bharat Forge, RKFL, and Nelcast. These collaborations are integral to Dana’s growth strategy, providing avenues for joint development, long-term agreements, and mutual benefits for all stakeholders.