Recently, Cyberabad traffic police busted a fake helmet manufacturing gang making ISI marked helmets in Ghaziabad. Ever since government has mandated sales of ISI marked helmets, fake helmet industry has mushroomed in India. We got in touch with Rajeev Kapur, Managing Director, Steelbird Helmets, one of the largest helmet makers in the world and President of Two Wheeler Helmet Manufacturers Association, to understand the problem of mushrooming sub-standard helmet industry in India.
Tell us about the Mushrooming fake helmet industry in India?
With many small factories manufacturing fake helmets and people falling for them rather than going for ISI Marked helmets, it is growing rapidly and we believe that if no actions are taken, millions of lives would be affected. Recently the raid conducted by Hyderabad Police ensures that no. of these cases and similar cases will surely start coming down. I would appeal everyone to use Real ISI marked Helmets rather than the fake helmets. The people who are manufacturing and distributing the fake helmets should be punished and jailed.
How do you see the overall Helmet Industry of India?
The demand for helmets in India would be close to 100 million helmets annually. With the government mandating helmets for the rider and pillion in some cities, I am positive that eventually the demand for the helmets is bound to increase. Currently, Steelbird manufactures around 22,000 helmets daily and intend to scale up to 50,000 units this year.
What are the Challenges helmet industry is facing?
There are several challenges for a helmet manufacturer in Indian market. Some of them being the GST on helmets are 18% and that should be lessen. The government should make the helmets compulsory, the regulations for helmets should be made. Strict actions against Fake ISI helmets and non BIS helmets should be taken as so many lives are being at risk because of these low quality helmets. Motor vehicle act 138 should be implemented and all two wheelers manufactures must provide helmets along with the two wheelers to save millions of lives.
Steelbird is a household and oldest brand. How do you keep the brand running?
In a timespan of more than five decades, Steelbird has marked its formidable presence through all its entrepreneurial endeavours. Brilliantly executed strategy and dedicated team of employees have transformed an ordinary company into business extraordinaire. From square one to being number one, what set Steelbird distinct from its counterparts are its unique efforts to put Helmets, quality, innovation, technology and branding together. With many more milestones yet to achieve, Steelbird has taken a giant leap forward to be recognized as dominant player in business arena. Any helmet shop today cannot survive without Steelbird Helmets. Being the oldest quality brand in the market, it’s the first choice and I think it has been a more than satisfactory performance of the brand. But we still have many miles to go.
Can you tell why ISI marked helmets are essential?
A lot goes into this. Standards are derived by deep studies. Many people are involved in this including scientists, professors, doctors and so many other. If there would be no standards no quality product could be made. If we talk about before the standards, Non ISI Cylinders used to get blasted all the time but with standard, nothing like that is happening.