MAN Trucks plans to make India global sourcing and export hub:
The Pune-based MAN Trucks India Pvt. Ltd. is a fully owned subsidiary of MAN Truck & Bus AG, Germany. The products manufactured in its plant at Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, include tippers for off-road and construction, haulage for regular and over dimensio
Q: What is the response to your products from the Indian market and your future prospects?
We are looking at India as a dynamic market. It is very much sustainable. We see huge potential with the Make in India programme. Of late, maybe because of the new reforms, it is going through a volatile phase. But it will make a come-back very soon. We should never consider the short-term slackness, as the market promises longterm green shoots. GST will have very good influence on the truck market and the upcoming vehicles will have better engine performance due to other regulations. Russia was even worse than this, but we managed to come up.
Q: You might have learnt many things from the Russian market. How do you intent to implement them in India?
We have a flexible product line and sales and after-sales service will be given utmost importance. Though the market is dull now, the customers will maintain the existing fleet and they will look forward mainly for after sales service. We should be very quick to respond when the market recovers. For that we should have efficient supplier management skills.
Q: You have a flexible product line. How many products do you have now, and how many are in the pipeline for launch?
We have more than 125 variants as of now covering all the market segments. We still want to penetrate into the mining and heavy duty trucks.
Q: What kind of mining and deep mining products are you looking at?
It is too early to disclose. We are studying the market and making assessments as it is difficult to change once the product is designed.
Q: What is your current level of localisation, your supplier strength and export plan from India?
Our current localisation level is 82%. We are trying to increase it. In order to compete in the market it is necessary to play the local to local strategy. Concurrently we are in need of quality suppliers. We organised a conference where more than 100 vendors participated. We discussed our needs and quality standards with them. We give full focus on quality. One of our important strategies is to export from India. We want to use India more for global sourcing.
Q: What are the plans to increase exports of your trucks from India?
The product difference between export and the domestic market should be well defined. Currently we have 40% exports from India. It will be 50% by 2020. Now we focus on 3 core markets for exports from India: Africa, Middle East, and Uzbekistan. We take care of the SAARC countries and Central Asia also. The 50% export is foreseen targeting countries like Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia.
Q: What is your plant capacity, any expansion plan?
We have capacity for 10,000 units. As of now we do not have any plan to expand the capacity. We focus on volumes and profitability. We have certain benchmarks within and do not want to juxtapose ourselves with the fellow players. We promise customers quality, reliability and guarantee superior service.
Q: Volkswagen is established in India. Being part of the VW Group what are the strengths you have?
We have colleagues from VW and we synergise things. We are thinking about achieving commonality in the suppliers and other resources. But it is too early to comment on it.
Q: What do you use, EGR or SCR, to meet the new norms?
We feel for our trucks SCR is more suitable and gives better fuel efficiency. In the Indian market, sulphur content in the fuel is high. Hence EGR is not the best in our point of view as we have experience using EGR as well.
Q: What are your plans for the next 2-3 years?
We have air conditioning technology for trucks and telematics is also in place. The technology is ready and whenever the market demands we can immediately respond with our products. We are already in touch with the airconditioning suppliers. For telematics we have to work on solutions which match with the Indian market needs. We do not want to launch the sophisticated telematics as that is not the need of the market. We can crop things and launch the same in the Indian market.
Q: What are the other technologies you are working on now?
We also work on automatic distance control and automatic cruise control. But let’s wait and watch the Indian market and go for the future technologies.
Q: What is your light weighting concept and R&D focus?
We want to bring down the total cost of ownership. We focus on light weighting the trucks. This would increase the payload capacity and make customer happy. This also would give fuel efficiency. The technologies we work on will help reduce the maintenance costs, give long life and better performance. Driver comfort is rendered with our technologies but the owners are not giving much importance to the same, though the comfort of the drivers ensures better safety.
Q: Aftermarket plays a major role. What is your target?
We have to increase the number of touch points and dealerships to promote aftermarket sales in a big way. We have 64 outlets and we are constantly trying to increase them. Our quality and reliability bars are raised in such a way that the customers would never want early servicing.
Q: Share some light on your training centre.
We have a training centre in which the mechanics have to undergo training to achieve our level of quality. We also provide customer training and driver training at our Pithampur facility. Though driver skills are applicable for fuel efficiency, our technology itself ensures high fuel economy to our trucks.