Ruediger Schroeder, Kärcher India’s MD, speaks to Shobha Mathur about how its cleaning equipment helps reduce water consumption.
Ruediger Schroeder, Kärcher India’s MD, speaks to Shobha Mathur about how its cleaning equipment help reduce water consumption.
Kärcher set up its subsidiary in India last year and till then was only marketing cleaning products here. What is the roadmap for India in the automotive space?
Kärcher set up its 100 percent subsidiary Kärcher Cleaning Systems (P) Ltd at Noida in 2011. Before that, Kärcher products were sold through dealers which also provided service.
The automotive sector has been for many years an important segment with our products suiting the requirements of garages, repair shops and auto houses. The company’s offerings include high pressure cleaners (hot and cold) for cleaning the car exteriors and special vacuums, upholstery and steam cleaners for the interiors.
With the growing number of cars on Indian roads, people will spend more on good maintenance and that is where our products fit in. We have a dedicated sales and service team nationwide and are securing a good growth year after year.
How are your services beneficial to carmakers?
For carmakers we offer complete mechanised cleaning solutions up to automatic car systems where the cars are cleaned before they are shipped.
Our program includes sweepers and scrubbers in all sizes for floor care, industrial wet and dry vacs for cleaning machine tools, pipes, hard-to-reach areas, high-pressure cleaners for cleaning paint shops, workshops and dry ice blasting machines for cleaning of tools, dyes and paintshops.
Who are your immediate competitors?
Roots, Eureka Forbes and Nilfisk.
Is it true that Kärcher products reduce water consumption for cleaning cars? How much is the reduction and how do you ensure cleanliness with less water?
If you clean a car with a Kärcher high-pressure cleaner you need around 80 percent less water to get a better cleaning result in lesser time. As the water through the pump hits the surface with high pressure, dirt is removed completely without any damage to the paint surface.
How big is the cleaning industry in value terms especially for the automotive sector in India?
As the industry is still in its infant stage, figures are hard to guess.
What are your growth targets in India in terms of topline?
We as Kärcher are satisfied with our strong growth in India over the past three years. We are convinced that we will be able to continue a growth path. The best-selling product lines are high pressure cleaners and vacuums.
How much investment have you made in this business in India and what are the trends in this industry?
We have invested and will invest heavily in our infrastructure. We just opened our 10th branch office at Kochi, Kerala with trained sales and service staff as well as demo machines, spare parts and fast moving machines. We constantly train our sales and service staff to ensure the best service in the industry.
In February this year, we inaugurated our training academy in Noida where we can facilitate up to 50 people for sales and service training. Also all our branches have service vans to reach out to our customers in the best way possible. Many small importers in our industry have a regional base but can’t cater to customers nationally.
How long does it take to clean a car compared to an authorised dealership?
A mechanised cleaning of a car is definitely better compared with a manual job as scratches will not appear.
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