How have you seen the mobility market evolving in the last decade?
The industry is going through tremendous transformations and we are committed to drive the shift to sustainable transport solutions in this country. India saw the entry of premium trucks only in the last two decades. Though awareness is growing, a lot more ground needs to be covered. The premium tipper market on an average for heavy duty mining segment varies between 1400–1600 vehicles a year. We anticipate mining, construction, infrastructure and special applications to be the primary demand driver for premium trucks. If the growth potential of all these are taken into consideration, then the premium truck segment will continue to grow at a steady pace. In the longer term, the premium truck penetration level for on-road will gradually rise. Higher emission standards, safety standards, fleet modernisation, more organised logistics players, driver shortages, improved road infrastructure and better living standards will play a role in this shift.
India is going through a major auto crisis right now. During a time like this, what is going to be your plan of action for Scania India to bring sustainable products for the Indian automotive industry?
While the country is going through a slump, we would like to reiterate our commitment to growing the market. Under our stated goals for 2019, we will continue to expand our existing markets while looking to invest in the future. With our extensive experience in offering transport solutions for the mining industry, we are looking at introducing more such solutions to the market to optimise operations. As a forward-looking company, we are working towards testing the market for haulage segments. While the rest of the country is working towards adopting BS-VI emissions in less than a year, our company has been ready since 2011; we have been producing Euro VI in Europe and by using that expertise, we are prepared for BS-VI engines in India.
Last year, Scania shut down its bus body building plant due to less demand for its premium buses. Do you plan on recreating it soon?
Due to compelling business restructuring reasons, we did shut down the bus body-building unit but continue with our products and services in the mining segment. We have taken the time to re-strategise our business model and products for the Indian market. We have also put in place the five-year strategy and are excited to work on it.
What is your strategy to add value through your products and services in India?
India is a large market with varied transportation requirements. We are evaluating applications, such as, long haulage trucks to understand the key requirements of our customers’ needs and match it with our USPs to ensure we add value through our products and services. Globally, we have proven expertise in 36 segments across urban, regional, long-distance and off-road operations. Right now, we will continue to expand our footprint in existing markets while looking for possible investment opportunities to diversify in other segments. We are looking at capitalising on the current industry trends while contributing heavily to the market.
Scania recently launched its NTG range of trucks. How will this new range of trucks further support the growth of the mining industry and improve construction in India?
Due to coal demand and supply gap, there is a huge pressure on operators for increasing productivity while maintaining low operating cost. Regulations and awareness about safety is also increasing. Here, we saw an opportunity to introduce higher productivity tippers to meet evolving customer needs and preferences. New Truck Generation Heavy Tipper & Solutions is increasing the revenues, reducing the total cost of ownership and risks of operations drastically. Furthermore, the heavy tipper has been extensively tested and tailored for the tough Indian mining conditions, which is proving to be a major success not only in India but in all global mining markets.
What is your approach while focusing on long-term association with your customers?
Customer profitability is at the core of everything we do and it is this value that drives our relationships and associations with them. We provide customers in India tailor-made solutions, global technology and products, all adapted to their specific local needs.
What is your company's plan 10 years down the line?
We are here to stay in India and are strongly committed to the market. Taking that forward, we have drawn up a five-year strategic vision & mission document for the company. In 2019, we will continue to expand our footprint in existing markets while looking for possible investment opportunities to diversify into other segments. With our extensive experience in offering transportation solutions, we will also be providing strategic innovations to optimise mining and construction operations. Besides, we are looking at expanding our service offerings by introducing the connectivity angle to all of the services offered by our company.