Samsons Group, makers of artificial leather cloth, vinyl coated fabrics and seating systems, has come up with an innovative two-wheeler seat cover that would keep the seats 12 to 20 degrees cooler in India's hot weather.
Made from phase change material (PCM) the seat covers, that Samsons claims is the material used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for its astronauts, these seat covers under the brand name 'Joyride', would control sweat and offer a more comfortable ride. Samsons had soft launched the product last year and has so far sold around 200,000 such seat covers. The product is priced at around Rs 450 a piece in comparison to conventional seat covers that cost around Rs 100-150 a piece. The company is offering a three-year warranty though.
"This year, we aim to sell around 1 million seat covers by March 2014. There are around 10 million two wheelers on the road in Gujarat and every year at least 1-1.2 million two wheelers are added to the exiting population. Hence, there is a huge market to tap," said Mukesh Motasha, executive director, Samsons Group. He added that around Rs 5.5 crore of investment has gone into developing the product.
Going forward, the Group also has plans for coming up with drivers' helmets using the same material, that would reduce sweating by around 30 per cent. The company said that these would be priced around 30-40 per cent more than conventional helmets.
Motasha also informed that the company, which already supplies seating systems to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Toyota, Mahindra and Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki, is in talks with several two wheeler OEMs like Bajaj, Hero, TVS among others, for selling the innovative seat covers. "Test trials have already been done, as well test marketing of the product. We expect to seal a deal within the next six months," he said.
As of now, Samsons Group has over 200 dealers and more than 300 retailers across Gujarat to sell the product which has been developed after two years of research. The company now intends to set up the dealer network in all major cities and towns of the state and expects to clock an annual revenue of about Rs 30 crore from Gujarat itself. While the product was initially launched in the state, Samsons now sells the product in Chennai and parts of Madhya Pradesh as well.