Thirukkurungudi Vengaram Sundram Iyengar was an Indian industrialist and automotive pioneer.
During the 1930s, when driving an automobile was still a distant dream for most Indians, he had a vision to start the very first rural bus service in Madurai.
Business was not only a passion for Sundaram Iyengar, but also a service rendered to the common man. His innovative and visionary ideas, hard work and determination formed the basis of “TV Sundaram Iyengar and Sons Group of Companies”, one of India’s largest industrial conglomerates – what we know today as TVS Group.
The group launched by Iyengar expanded its services to the automotive industry, automotive services and finance in the following years. No wonder he is now considered one of the most successful industrialists of his time. TV Sundaram Iyengar was also a pioneer and a rigorous follower of Gandhian philosophies.
TV Sundaram Iyengar was born in 1877 at Thirukkurungudi in Thirunelveli district in present-day Tamil Nadu (then part of Madras Presidency). Sundaram Iyengar started his career as a lawyer after which he worked for Indian Railways and later in a bank.
From humble beginnings as a lawyer, he became one of the most successful industrialists of his time. The group’s flagship company is TVS Motors created by his son TS Doraiswamy.
It laid the foundation for the road transport industry under the former Madras Presidency through the state’s first bus service. The TVS group he thus created now extends from the automotive industry, from automotive services to financial services.
As Sundaram Iyengar always had a passion for business, he quit his job and ventured into the motor transport industry.
In 1912, he started the first bus service in the city of Madurai.
In 1923, he established the TV Sundaram Iyengar and Sons Group of Companies, which paved the way for the origin of the “TVS Group”.
During World War II, when the Madras Presidency faced a huge shortage of gasoline, he then designed and started the TVS Gas Plant to meet the demands of the people.
He also started rubber retreading plants in addition to Madras Auto Service Limited and Sundaram Motors Limited. Of these, Madras Auto Service Limited was General Motors’ largest distributor in the 1950s.
So a business that started as a one-man passion turned into a thriving family business. Four separate branches started working under the name ‘TVS’. TVS Group is currently the largest automobile distribution company in India.
The group operates in various fields such as the manufacture of automotive components, car dealerships, electronics and finance and employs 40,000 people. They are also into IT solutions and services.
TV Sundaram had five sons and three daughters and the business was shared by the male family members.
TS Santhanam, the youngest son of TV Sundaram, is the founder of ‘Sundaram Finance’ and is considered the ‘Father of Truck Finance Industry’ in India.
The history of TV Sundaram Iyengar and Sons Group of Companies can be traced back to Thirukurungudi Venkagaruswamy Sundaram Iyengar who quit his lucrative railway career and started his own business.
He started the first bus service in Madurai and cemented their presence in the transport sector at a time when this type of business was nowhere heard of, especially in South India.
Sundaram Iyengar died on April 28, 1955 at his Kodaikkanal residence at the age of 78.
Posted: Wednesday April 27th 2022, 3:40 PM IST