Auto component-maker Sona Koyo Steering Systems is diversifying into supply of parts for off-road vehicles and is currently testing its products with a US-based firm with a view to start exports from early next fiscal.
"We are planning to enter the farm equipment and off-road vehicles segment. We have developed the steering technology for off-road vehicles and these are called Electronic Power Assisted Module (EPAM)," Sona Koyo Steering Systems Vice-Chairman and MD Sunjay Kapur told PTI.
The company has already started trial production of the product and shipped it to an off-road vehicle-maker in the US, he added.
"The American firm is currently testing it in their vehicles. Once the testing is successful, we hope to start exporting for commercial production from early next financial year," Kapur said.
He, however, declined to share the name of the US-based firm that is currently testing the product.
He said the EPAM will be produced from Sona Koyo's plant in the national capital region. Currently, it has three units at Dharuhera and one each at Gurgaon, Sanand and Chennai.
Talking about the farm equipment sector, Kapur said: "We are looking at this as a potential segment. Currently, we are talking to almost all domestic tractor-makers to supply the steering systems."
He also said the company is looking at the heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) segment. It has been trying to develop the technology for the last few years.
"We are still looking at the HCV segment, but currently we do not have the technology," he added.
In August, 2010, the NCR-based firm said it was exploring possibilities to supply its products to HCV-makers.
Asked about revenues, Kapur said the company's performance was impacted during the third quarter due to labour unrest at its one of the biggest customers, Maruti Suzuki's Manesar facility.
"... Still, we are expecting a small single-digit growth in this fiscal," he added.
Last week, Sona Koyo had reported a 32.84% fall in consolidated profit after tax for the quarter ended December 31 to Rs 13.7 crore from Rs 20.4 crore for the corresponding period last financial year.
Its consolidated net sales also dipped by 5.77% to Rs 315.2 crore during the third quarter from Rs 334.5 crore in the year-ago period.
The company currently supplies its products to all passenger vehicle-makers in India, including Maruti Suzuki, General Motors and Tata Motors.