AM Muralidharan, Managing Director, Volvo India.
“We invent many soft and hard products to improve operator efficiency, which in turn result in fuel efficiency,” says AM Muralidharan, Managing Director, Volvo India, in an exclusive interview with Equipment India. Excerpts from the interview.
How is Volvo placed to meet the surging demands for advanced products and services? The market is bouncing back for general construction and infrastructure development. However, road construction is not back on track, mainly due to delayed tenders and delayed execution of projects. However, Volvo is prepared for growth and have invested in India to increase capacity. Volvo CE looks good at year-end.
How do you look at the threat of import from LCCs? Healthy competition is something we face globally. We play in this value market with our dual brand strategy.
What sort of topline growth are you looking at in the next five years? We are expecting a minimum topline growth of 15per cent, year over year. These will come from increase in current product sales and also, the introduction of new products. Our expectation is that there will be further investments in infrastructure in all major cities and in towns. This will pull the market up and we are ready to meet the demand as one of the leading players in the industry.
Is there a move towards more affordable product lines with more value add-ons?We are going for a dual brand strategy with which we will be able to address a majority of the market anywhere in the world. We are offering one premium brand and one value brand.
What are the steps you have initiated to enhance operator efficiency? Innovation is one of the main strength of Volvo. We invent many soft and hard products to improve operator efficiency, resulting in fuel efficiency. We have also introduced CareTrack in India which monitors machine and operator performance and gives live feedback to us, as well as to our customers, so that we can improve machine and operator performance.
How are exports doing for Volvo now? From our Indian production facility, we continue to export to other South-east Asian countries where there was no major recession impact.
Financing still seems to be a challenge. What is your take on this? We do have financing partners in India and we also encourage financing through other finance companies and banks. Our captive financing outfit is in the planning stage.
Tell us about the growth potential? We expect mining and construction segments to grow in the next decade.
What are the market trends in the road equipment segment? The road segment is not growing as it should, mainly due to delays in project execution. We are expecting this to grow in the next ten years. With regard to Rasta, we do provide consultancy work in the road-building segment to our customers. We also run an academic course with partnership with a Bangalore- based university where 40 students are learning road-building and maintenance as their specialisation.
According to you, what are the major challenges faced by OEMs in India? VAT should be introduced at the earliest. The expectation of CE market increase should become a reality.
Volvo has registered an enviable growth. To what you attributes this success? We attribute our success basically to our customers; we had an early entry and were able to establish the brand well. Our distribution network and customer support activities have also played a major role in our success.