Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG), established in 1975 by Vivek Chaand Sehgal along with his mother,
is today a $9.1-billion group having presence in 37 countries with over 230 facilities across the
globe. Under the leadership of VC Sehgal, Chairman of SMG, the Group has evolved as a leading full
system solutions provider to the global automotive industry. While SMG is ranked 26th among the global
automotive suppliers, Motherson Sumi Systems Limited (MSSL) - the flagship company of the Group and
one of the largest auto ancillary companies in India - features among the Forbes Asia Fab 50
Sehgal’s visionary ability to sight opportunities for the benefit of the Group - be it in the form of
joint ventures or acquisitions - is legendary. Today, the Group has 25 partners for its various
product ranges and has 20 successful acquisitions to date. His clear vision to establish SMG as a full
system solutions provider and a preferred vendor to all customers has propelled the expansion of the
Group in new business areas.
The Group has set a target to achieve revenue of $18 billion by 2020, and Sehgal is confident, like in
past, to surpass the goal. In this exclusive interaction with Rakesh Rao, VC Sehgal shares his success
mantra and insight into trends in the global automotive industry.
Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG) has emerged has one of the leading global suppliers of auto
components to OEMs. How has been the journey? What were the key learnings on this growth journey?
From 1975 to the present, the story has been interesting, to say the least. We were very fortunate to
have the right partners in Sumitomo from whom we learned a lot and continue to. The same is true of
our long standing association with Maruti and the other OEMs that we came to work with.
The learnings have been innumerable but a few that helped us grow the way we did was to always be
prepared. For customer requirements, for trends, changes – whatever came our way, we were clear that
we were solutions providers. So we worked on building our capabilities, our knowledge, technologies,
capacities – everything that would enable us to be able to say ‘yes’ every time our customers asked
us, can you do it?
Are you on track to achieve your revenue target of $18 billion by 2020? Could you please share with us
the strategies adopted by the group to reach this goal?
I think our record speaks for itself – every time we have set a target for ourselves, we have
overachieved and ahead of time. We are confident that this time will be no different. Our strategies
are very simple – the growth will be both organic and inorganic. We study new deals on an almost daily
basis considering that our three pronged strategy for growth has always been first, if we can, we will
do it ourselves; second, look at JV partnerships when required and, third, acquisitions.
Do you see challenges propping up due to the global trend (especially in developed countries) towards
If we are to believe global forecasts, which are predicting a move to non-diesel vehicles in less than
two decades, there will undoubtedly be myriad challenges. The conversation is an interesting one – on
one side, there is the practicality of cleaner diesel options, on the other there is the definite
direction that the industry seems to headed in, which is electric or hybrid etc. Then there is the one
question that is not being asked loudly enough – do we have enough electricity in the world to look at
EVs as the solution to a cleaner world? Should we be focusing on finding alternatives to fossil fuels
that power energy needs instead of fixating on automotive products alone?
However, as Samvardhana Motherson Group, we have maintained that as a business and as a supplier, we
are ready for whatever the customer needs us to do. Being powertrain agnostic, we are in a very happy
position to be able to cater to any trend that may come, with minimum discomfort.
India will adopt BS VI norms by 2020. What kind of opportunities are you looking at due to this
Advanced electronics control modern vehicles and their engines for effective combustion and
performance. The BS VI system needs highly accurate real time response using additional information
for offering high vehicle performance and clean emissions. Towards this, huge electronics systems are
getting added further. Connectivity solutions (wiring harness) for this complex system are also
Significantly higher amount of advanced technology - miniature, lighter, more intelligent and compact
wiring hardware - is required for effective functioning of such complex electronics systems. To
support this, advanced wiring manufacturing processes will, therefore, be required to build such
complex connectivity (wiring) solutions. With its global experience in people, products, process and
technologies SMG is poised to capitalise on this opportunity.
There is a global trend towards electrification (electric vehicles). How is Motherson Group approaching this issue?
We are ready. Being engine agnostic, we are in a comfortable position in terms of business and
delivery. Electrification will bring us more opportunities since the need for light weighting, more
sophisticated wiring systems and greater aesthetics in terms of plastics will be needed, all of which
we provide. It is definitely an opportunity for Motherson to be the preferred global solutions
provider, with more content per car.
According to you what are the major challenges and opportunities in electrification for the auto
component industry in India? Is the industry (auto OEMs and auto component) ready for it?
We cannot speak for others but Samvardhana Motherson Group is more than ready for electrification!
Overseas buyouts have helped the group to register handsome growth in past. Going forward, would you
continue with inorganic growth strategy?
While most of our acquisitions have been at the behest of customers, the inorganic growth will
definitely continue to be a part of our growth strategy.
What is your outlook for automotive and auto component industry for 2020 and beyond?
Extremely positive. This is a sector that has evolved since it came into being and has adapted to the
changes that customers, trends and technologies have brought. A vehicle is made of hundreds of
components, and new challenges push us harder to stay ahead. Those who have the vision to look at the
world as one big opportunity will find themselves adapting to whatever shape the automotive industry
We were clear that we were solutions providers. So we worked on building our capabilities, our
knowledge, technologies, capacities.