May 2007 | Candida Moraes

The power of green

Using a green technology and recyclable lead as raw material to produce green batteries, Tata AutoComp GY Batteries is helping create an environment-friendly world. An interview with Tata AutoComp GY Batteries CEO Yogesh Dhawan

Affirming the Group's commitment to protect the environment, the Tata AutoComp GY Batteries (TGY) — a 50:50 joint venture between Tata AutoComp Systems (TACO) and GS Yuasa International, Japan (GYIN) — launched in January this year an environment-friendly battery called 'Tata Green'.

The batteries are environment friendly, from production to disposal, and are attractively priced. They require zero maintenance for the first 1-lakh km, have longer shelf life and an ability to withstand extreme temperatures. Tata AutoComp GY Batteries CEO Yogesh Dhawan explains more about the unique features of the product and shares the plans the company has for Tata Green in an interview with Candida Moraes. Excerpts:

What is the concept behind the 'Tata Green' batteries?
'Tata Green' batteries are being manufactured using an advanced technology by GYIN that incorporates stringent global-quality standards with special emphasis on retrieval and appropriate disposal of used batteries through organised smelters.

The batteries have several unique features: long battery and shelf life, higher levels of vibration resistance on all types of Indian terrain, an ability to withstand extreme temperatures, high cranking power for instant starts and truly maintenance free / hassle-free performance with no top ups required up to 1-lakh km. These features make Tata Green the best battery in the Indian market with premium plus benefits.

Tata Green batteries are priced at the level of the standard range of competitive offerings thereby making it a true value-for-money proposition. These batteries are priced at around Rs3,072 for four-wheeler premium batteries; the other premium brands of competitors are priced at Rs3,800. Leveraging its product strengths, the battery also comes with a warranty of up to 50 months — a first in the Indian battery market.

The batteries are manufactured at a state-of-the-art plant at Ranjangaon (near Pune) and uses raw materials that are 90-per cent recyclable. The plant addresses all environment related concerns and this reflects in the technology that is used — similar to the ones used for advanced applications like NASA satellites and hybrid electric vehicles which are leading the way in creating a more environment-friendly world. These batteries are cost effective and are made out of recyclable lead which means less pollution of hazardous material, an area that is of utmost importance in today's world.

Tata  Green batteries are eco-friendly and last long

What is the strategy behind launching this product?
The strategy behind Tata Green is to offer the Indian consumer an excellent product with premium plus benefits at an affordable price, thus making it a 'value-for-money' proposition. In a way, the entire exercise has been more of a brand philosophy that personifies the essence of our vision and mission at Tata AutoComp GY batteries. The Tata Green battery is a product that has been produced after conducting various studies to estimate the potential of such a venture.

What has been the response so far?
It's been excellent. After the first batch of orders, a large section of the market has started placing repeat orders. We have around 350-plus direct dealers and about 85 distributors. Beginning February this year we already have a presence in 15 states in the north, west and south of India and would be in the remaining 13 states of central, eastern and north east India in the next couple of months.

What other plans do you have for the brand?
Through this product we are also capitalising on the strength of our joint venture partner in being the world's number one in 2W batteries. It is also to fulfil our promise to the channel partners for providing a wider basket of products to improve their ROIs. Within an year, we aim to set up the additional 2W manufacturing line at our plant. In the interim, this will help us to be present in the 2W segment and to grow further.

What initiatives is the company looking at in terms of increasing market reach and sales?
So far we have entered the market through the channel partner route (dealer, distributor, CFA). Once we have a complete national presence we plan to roll out a complete integrated communication plan.

On the distribution front, we are focusing on increasing the width and depth of penetration with the ultimate ambition of appointing at least one dealer in every town with a population of 50,000, across India. In qualitative terms, we shall maintain a 'close to the dealer' approach to provide strong support to the efforts of our channel partners in imparting superior services to the consumers. We shall also initiate CRM to retain existing customer base.

What is the plan for the near future?
We aim for market leadership and nothing less than that. We are also moving towards becoming a complete storage energy solutions company in the near future.