Safety is indeed a matter of great importance, especially when it comes to riding a two-wheeler. With the growing traffic mis-management, crowded streets and bad roads, it is imperative to keep oneself protected from dangers lurking around us all the time.
We had an opportunity to catch up with Mr. Rajiv Kapur, Managing Director, Steelbird Helmets, who are pioneers in the Indian helmet industry. Mr. Kapur shared his vision with us and also facts about the helmet industry and riding safety in India.
Read on to know more.
Q: How big is the helmet industry in India?
A: Due to Covid-19, dependency on Public Transport has been decreased & there is a surge in demand for personal mobility. India is already the world’s biggest market for two-wheelers and we have seen a rise in the demand for helmets after the decision of BIS to make helmets mandatory.
In India, the demand is expected to be more than 170 million helmets a year. Now the matter is, how do we drive this? As of now, we are producing 22,000 helmets per day that means roughly about 80 million helmets each year.
We expect a 50 percent annual growth rate over the next few years for India's helmet industry.
Q: What is the market share of Steelbird?
A: Being the brand leader of the helmet industry, Steelbird is currently enjoying approximately 30 % market share in the branded helmet industry with three plants and a manufacturing capacity of 22,000 helmets a day as of now.
In the pre-Covid era, the company has boosted the manufacturing capacity of its state of the art plant in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh with an investment of about Rs.150 Crore. With a capacity to manufacture 22,000 helmets per day.
Simultaneously, we are supporting the Mission of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi's ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ & ‘Vocal for Local’. Keeping that in mind, in the last quarter we have launched our Medical Division manufacturing PPE Kits, Face Shields, Face Masks, Hand Sanitizer, Immunity Booster Powder etc.
Q: Do you see a rise in awareness of safety in two-wheeler riders? What are the challenges?
A: The biggest challenge was banning manufacturing, selling & buying of cheap & fake ISI Helmets. Now the time is extremely favourable as the industry has a lot of support from the government. The policymakers are doing their best to ensure the road safety of the citizens. Road safety has become a very important concern in our country because so many fatalities are occurring and the government is putting a lot of efforts to save human lives.
Q: How is Steelbird catering to the growing demands of riders and how is it fighting foreign competition?
A: Steelbird consistently launches helmets with High-end technology and innovation features. We have launched helmets with anti fog visors, helmets with in-built headphones, helmet with ventilation technology, racing helmets and many more. With the launch of new models, Steelbird is home to the largest range of helmets under a single brand. Our models would also be designed for the international market. Steelbird already exports helmets and accessories to its international markets which includes countries like South Africa, UAE, Sri Lanka etc . Steelbird is also mulling the option to bring a few international brands to the Indian market.
We do a lot of R&D before launching any product in the market and our aim is to be Asia’s leading helmet brand. We continue to spend on our R&D and to power ahead and have over 20 new types of helmets that we are looking at launching in the near future.
Q: What new products can we expect from Steelbird?
A: As mentioned, Steelbird has now expanded its foot into medical visibility. We have come up with face shields, PPE kits, hand sanitizers and more, in our fight against COVID-19. Our newest launch is the IGN-1 HF Ffce shield that provides dual benefits to the users - protection from Coronavirus and the feature of accessing mobile phones without having to pick the phone up again and again in your hand. We shall try to come up with products as per public needs.
As part of our ongoing fight against COVID-19, we launched face shields and currently produce 15,000 units daily and have plans to expand this to over 50000 units per day by the end of September 2020. Face shields are essential in added defence against COVID-19 as they protect the eyes. It has been proven that the virus can enter the body from the eyes which is why face shields are more important than face masks. Our range currently includes masks for the general public, kids, women and special masks for doctors, that come with an anti-fog coating as ICU temperatures are cold and require this.