Story behind TVS Group
A long time ago there was a young man. He wanted to start something of his own. He somehow arranged money and began a small passenger bus service. Time went on, and with his hard work and dedication, he transformed his small venture into a major business empire. This is not the story of Sooryavansham. But, this is the life story of a business legend, T. V. Sundram Iyengar. He started his career as a lawyer, then worked in Indian railways and later in a bank. But at the age of 34, he decided to take the biggest risk of his life. He left his job and started the first passenger bus service between Madurai and Devakottai. The tickets for this 100 Kilimoter ride, were priced only Rs.4 and it also came with a free meal on the bus. Even though Sundaram Iyengar was new to management, he become one of the first entrepreneur in India to introduce On-time bus operations, bus price printed ticketing system, developed one of Asia’s largest service infrastructure of buses, and also a training infrastructure for drivers. Sundaram Iyengar subsequently diversified into import and distribution of Firestone tires, later he became a sub-dealer for Chevrolet and finally started a General Motors dealership. To increase sales of his new dealership, Sundaram Iyengar used an interesting strategy. The local elites in the area were offered a chauffeur-driven car with a driver for a whole week, at free of cost. And surely after this strategy, GM sales picked up and his company soon become India’s largest distributor of GM.
Now 110 years after starting the first bus service venture, his company now has grown into an $8.5 billion conglomerate. The group is now one of India’s largest automobile component manufacturers, India’s third-largest two-wheeler manufacturer, and the second-largest two-wheeler exporter, with exports to over 60 Countries.
Journey of TVS
let’s start our bike and begin our journey across the world, to witness TVS Group’s fascinating Business Empire. We will first move to the Americas. Here in Central America TVS, two-wheelers are sold in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Moreover, TVS bikes are also sold in 7 countries in South America. While in the US, the group jointly operates a Logistics Services company, TVS America. Moving to Europe, and reach Switzerland. Here the company owns the e-bike company, EGO Movement. Moreover in the UK, the company has acquired the over 100-year-old iconic motorcycle firm, Norton Motorcycles. And recently inaugurated the multi-million dollar state-of-the-art manufacturing & design facility in West Midlands. From Europe, we will move to Africa. And reach Nigeria, here TVS King, is one of the most popular tricycles in the country and recently won the ‘Tricycle Brand of the Year award. Moreover in Africa, TVS bikes are sold in over 20 countries in the region, including Uganda and Kenya. Now from Africa, we will move to Asia. And reach Indonesia, here TVS Motors operates a manufacturing plant in West Java. While in the rest of Asia, TVS bikes & three-wheelers are popular in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Moreover, the TVS motorcycle market share is also growing in UAE & Philippines.
TVS Indian’s Journey
Now finally it’s time to reach India. In India TVS MOTORS has moved a long way, with the launching of India’s first two-seater moped, TVS 50, In 1980; the company sells over 21 lakh two-wheelers in India every year, including their very popular TVS Apache and TVS Jupiter, as well as their first Electric Vehicle, TVS iQUBE. Overall in India TVS Group operates 9 listed companies, most of them are primarily function as original equipment manufacturers for the automobile industry. Their listed companies include TVS Srichakra, One of the largest tire manufacturing companies, Wheels India, one of the world’s largest steel wheel manufacturers; Sundaram – Clayton, the automotive castings company; Sundaram Brake, the automobile brakes company which exports to 54 countries; Sundaram Fasteners, one of India biggest exporter of fasteners; India Nippon Electricals, one of the biggest a manufacturer of Electronic Ignition Systems for two-wheelers. Other than equipment manufacturers the company has also founded Sundaram Finance, the financial services company with over 640 branches and TVS Electronics, the manufacture and distributor of printers, point of sale terminals, and other technology products. Other than listed companies the group also operates, Delphi-TVS, the Diesel Fuel Injection Equipment manufacturer; LUCAS-TVS, the market leader for Auto Electrical equipment; Axel India, a heavy vehicle axle manufacturer; Sundaram Textiles, a textile company that operates two manufacturing units in Tamil Nadu, a bus body manufacturing company, and the group also operates a real estate company, which has developed around 2Mn.+ Sq.ft. and 11 projects primarily in Chennai. Moreover, TVS Group has also recently acquired Mahindra First Choice, the pan-India chain of multi-brand car and two-wheeler service workshops.
Now before we end, lets again ride a bike, but this time we will ride a BMW bike. You might wonder, why we are riding a BMW bike in a TVS blog? We are doing this because around 17% of BMW bikes globally are manufactured by TVS in their Hosur manufacturing plant. Finally, how can I sum up this journey which started with a small bus service and has now grown into one of the leading conglomerate in the global automotive industry. Therefore to end this blog, all I can say, this is the TVS group’s fascinating business empire.