COMPONENTS Cover story

JOST Ready for Exciting New Chapter in Indian Market

The company, a leading global producer and supplier of safety-critical systems for the CV industry, has opened its second plant in India, a market it considers to be of key strategic importance for its global growth ambitions in both business lines – Agriculture and Transport. N. Balasubramanian talks to the JOST senior management for this exclusive report.

In November last year, JOST, a world-leading producer and supplier of safety-critical systems for the commercial vehicle industry, took a giant leap in consolidating and strengthening its commitment in India with the inauguration of its second production plant in Chennai. The state-of-the-art plant, set up at Greenbase Industrial and Logistics Park belonging to the Hiranandani group, has been set up to produce front loaders and associated implements and backhoes for JOST’s agricultural brand Quicke. JOST India’s first facility in Jamshedpur was set up in 2008 for producing fifth wheels, axles, suspensions and other products related to the business line transport which has been running and growing successfully. JOST is today the market leader in fifth wheels and related products for the Indian truck-tractor market.

The new location in Chennai gives the brand Quicke the space and capacity needed to continue meeting the increasing demands. As in other important world markets, JOST is investing in manufacturing plants in the country, both to be close to the market as well as benefit from the optimal use of resources available on site for addressing markets outside India.

Sharing his views on the new plant, Joachim Dürr, CEO, JOST Werke SE, says, “This occasion is crucial for JOST globally because it signifies a major foreign investment. India is home to strong agricultural tractor companies, and being present here allows us to align seamlessly with their development, production, and logistics strategies. Moreover, India offers a competitive manufacturing environment, serving both domestic and global customers. In the realm of commercial vehicles, the integration of various technologies, from electronics to hydraulics, has become increasingly complex. Large OEMs prefer a global partner for such integrations, and by having a base in India, JOST ensures its presence wherever these vehicles are produced.

India – A Key Strategic Market for JOST
India has emerged a key strategic market for JOST and its global ambitions. Underscoring the importance of the market for his company, Dürr states, “India holds great significance for JOST on multiple fronts. We opened our first plant in the country 15 years ago and the journey has been impressive. India serves as a competitive manufacturing base with capabilities extending to IT and R&D. We foresee an increase in our staff in India, potentially moving development work from Europe and North America to leverage the well-educated talent pool here. Beyond manufacturing, India is a substantial market for our products. The country’s commercial vehicle sector, especially with new regulations favoring articulated vehicles, is experiencing rapid growth. Additionally, the shift toward more mechanized agriculture presents opportunities in the loader market. We consider Indian OEMs, such as Mahindra and Mahindra and ITL, as important players in the market. India, at its current turning point, represents a crucial strategic market for JOST, evident in the infrastructure developments and growth trends observed over the years.

Sharing an update on the importance of the investment that has gone into the new facility, Oliver Gantzert, CFO, JOST, shares, “Our new plant in Chennai is a very important investment, one of the biggest that JOST has done in the last 30 years. We are a global company serving global customers. India is a growing spot fitting into our strategy; it offers great infrastructure, a skilled workforce and a huge supply base, all of which make it very competitive and a perfect fit into our global vision.

Collaborating for Success
Narrowing down from a global view to the Asian continent, the new plant further adds to JOST’s firepower in the Asian region. Elaborating on the same, Waltraud Matzenberger, President, JOST Asia, says “Our new plant in Chennai is a pivotal milestone for JOST in Asia. It signifies our dedication to this region and the recognition of its strategic importance in the global automotive market. The new facility is equipped with state-of-the- art technology, allowing us to enhance our production capabilities and meet the growing demands of our customers in Asia.

Sharing her views on how JOST is fast-adapting to changes and hence in a strong position for the future, Matzenberger shares, “The automotive industry in Asia is undergoing a transformative phase, driven by technological advancements, changing consumer preferences, and a growing emphasis on sustainability. JOST sees tremendous potential in this evolution and aims to be at the forefront. Our new plant is a strategic investment that positions us to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of mobility in Asia.
Emphasizing the importance of collaboration, JOST’s Asia President adds, “Collaboration is key to success, and JOST is keen on fostering strong partnerships with local businesses, educational institutions, and government bodies. Through knowledge exchange, skill development initiatives, and community engagement, we intend to contribute not only to the growth of JOST but also to the overall development of the automotive ecosystem in Chennai and the surrounding regions.

JOST‘s India Journey
Around 15 years got, when JOST established its first plant in Jamshedpur, it envisioned catering only to heavy commercial vehicles, particularly the prime mover market. However, with the recent global acquisitions and the ensuing opportunity to explore new product ranges, the company realized the need for a second plant in India. Chennai became its second location, aligning with the ‘Make in India’ initiative and today the company is contributing to the global requirements of JOST from India.

As someone who has been part of the JOST India journey from the very beginning, Pradeep G.S, Managing Director and CEO, JOST India, visibly delighted with the latest development, shares, “This expansion feels like having a second child (referring to JOST’s second plant in India). It opens new avenues, allowing us to venture into the agricultural segment alongside our traditional focus on commercial vehicles. We anticipate doubling our topline in the next two years, leveraging the skills and opportunities for cost optimization. The addition of the Chennai facility definitely marks a positive shift in our business dynamics.

Sharing additional details about the new facility, Pradeep says, “Our team developed around 900 parts in just nine months, and thanks to our real estate partners, the facility was constructed within the same timeframe. With a dedicated team of 100 individuals, both permanent and flexible, we have already commenced billing and witnessed cash flows. As we gear up for increased production, we are excited about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Moreover, it’s not just our company but our entire nation making significant progress. The world is increasingly looking towards India for sourcing opportunities and we believe we are at a pivotal moment for best prospects in future.

Targeting ‘Quicke‘ yet Sustainable Growth
Sharing her thoughts on the new development, Yenny Fredriksson, Managing Director, Quicke Global (Ålö), says, “This is an extremely important occasion for JOST and the Quicke brand. India is significant for us, especially in the compact segment and potentially for larger tractors. We have witnessed substantial growth in the compact segment worldwide, and this plant is tailored for that demand. Proximity to customers in this segment is crucial which makes this facility a strategic move for Quicke. Our local presence is not just for exports but for long-term sustainability.

Giving an update on key markets for Quicke, she adds, “North America and Europe are pivotal markets for us, especially in the higher horsepower segment. While the compact segment is currently dominated by North America, we anticipate growth in Europe and foresee potential markets in India and other Asian regions in the near future.

Exciting New Beginning
With a construction period of less than twelve months, the established plant is strategically located close to the port and in the heart of the most industrialized Oragadam area of Chennai. Modern manufacturing technologies and assembly lines for production have been installed on the 16,866 m² premises. The neighborhood of the plant includes leading multinational commercial vehicle, passenger car manufacturers and global R&D centres.

With an annual capacity of about 40,000 units, the facility has been primarily designed for manufacturing loaders and backhoes. While it will initially focus on catering to the North American market, where JOST has recently made good business acquisitions, the possibility of catering to other regions worldwide in future is not ruled out.

Inbaraj. P, Divisional Manager – Operations, JOST Chennai, shares, “The new facility has an installed annual capacity of 40,000 units, which can be expanded to 50,000 units. In the first phase, it will employ a workforce of around 225 people. From a technology angle, we have robotic welding, power and free conveyor set up for powder coating and many other aspects that will help us not just meet but also exceed customer requirements.

As the Plant Head, I see this as a new beginning not only for JOST but for the Chennai region because it’s going to be a different market segment for the region. It is a great opportunity for JOST to cater to the US market through this plant and to bring new technology to the local market in the agricultural equipment space”, he concludes”.