'Consumer demand is driven by high technologies,' Guenter Weber

Guenter Weber, Regional President, Automotive Aftermarket, Bosch Limited, speaks to Jaishankar Jayaramiah on current business trends, connected solutions and challenges the industry faces.

Jaishankar Jayaramiah By Jaishankar Jayaramiah calendar 04 Dec 2015 Views icon5913 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
'Consumer demand is driven by high technologies,' Guenter Weber

In India, Bosch’s Automotive Aftermarket Division is responsible for the supply, sales and distribution of automotive parts for vehicle servicing; diagnostics equipment for workshops, technical information, training, and consulting; and technical aftersales service for Bosch automotive products and systems.

Guenter Weber, Regional President, Automotive Aftermarket, Bosch Limited, speaks to Jaishankar Jayaramiah on current business trends, connected solutions and challenges the industry faces.

What changes have you noticed in India in automotive technology in recent times as it determines the service scenario?

India is facing tremendous change in the automotive industry with different kind of demands from consumers’ side. They want more convenience, the latest technologies in cars like connectivity, GPS on the one side and reduced fuel consumption, CO2 reduction on the other. Today, customers are looking for value for their money with best technologies in their vehicles. Since the consumer trend has been changing, the Indian car industry needs more technology driven service solutions. A vast change in technology is basically driven by emission standards covering Bharat II, III, IV and connectivity.

How do you see the current aftersales service market in India?

The number of cars plying on road has been increasing, the parts and technologies involved in the cars are also increasing. Even the mobility concept has also been changing both in the private and public transport system. As a result, aftersales service has emerged as a key demand from the customer side.

The Indian auto industry has grown in all aspects including in service sector in the past 10 years. What is your take on this?

Till 2005, some people owned cars while most of the remaining people depended on taxis. Those days the consumer’s mindset was in ‘affordable driving’, giving importance for vehicle price and fuel economy. Between 2005-2010, the personal transportation concept gained momentum as everyone wanted to have a car. This period saw the concept of ‘Relaxed Driving’ with the consumers started eyeing carmakers who can assist them to maintain their cars with service packages like ‘maintenance free’ and ‘extended warranty’.

In the next phase (from 2010-2015), consumers started looking for personal and utility vehicles. The concept moved to ‘drivability’ with customers paying more attention to fun and joy while driving. In addition to price, fuel economy, maintenance and quality, consumers have started looking at power, torque and other features. Now the consumer demand has been driven by high technologies. They are looking for options like driver assistance systems, connectivity in cars, safety parameters like ABS and airbags.

During this period, vehicle maintenance has emerged as an important consideration for Total Cost of Ownership with growing preference for connectivity in the vehicle. The service industry should also change its pattern to tackle the repairs occurring in technology driven cars.

You acquired the SPX Service Solution brand in 2012. What is the post-acquisition story of Bosch Aftermarket Service Solutions?

Some of the brands acquired from SPX include RobinAir which provides air-conditioning service equipment, and OTC which offers special service tools. This strategy of Bosch AA has helped in becoming a one-stop solution provider that caters to the requirements of a variety of stakeholders such as IAM, OEMs, OES, test institutes and educational institutions. The turnover of SPX Service Solutions has doubled over the last three years after the acquisition by Bosch. Such strategic moves help us penetrate the market even deeper which is amply complemented by our relevant product offering. We are well equipped to meet both local and global demands as our core strengths lie in local innovation and having a complete value chain. 

Can you talk about connected solutions for the vehicle and workshops?

The realm of connected services in India has been making steadfast improvement and penetration thanks to the relevant offerings from Bosch AA to the local market. Global solutions like connected vehicles, connected workshop and intelligent fleet management will enable Bosch AA in India to realise its transformational drive, while facilitating a host of applications with benefits that could be adapted to different business use cases. The concept of Connected Workshop primarily tackles issues related to end-user management, vehicle diagnosis, vehicle repair, and software integration.

Bosch’s Intelligent Fleet Management system allows the user to resolve issues like logistics, efficiency, and costs, helping improve value by minimizing wear and tear, and avoiding component damage. The added benefit of having a theft surveillance and notification system, effectively improves vehicle security besides enhancing logistics and maximising utility. Irrespective of the time or location, the system allows users to monitor, analyze, and manage their vehicles’ attributes faster, more directly, and in greater detail than ever before using the centrally processed telematics data.

What are other programmes carried through Bosch AA in India?

To enhance the competency of service personnel, Bosch AA has been continuously investing in training across its 11 training centres in India. The company conducts training programs for independent garage mechanics on correct product handling techniques and new technology. Additionally, it has been training students from Industrial Training Institutes and Engineering colleges from across the country. As on date, Bosch AA has conducted around 1,000 courses and has trained over 13,000 participants during 2015. As an initiative towards Industry Academia interface, Bosch AA has rolled out a Joint Certification Concept (JCC).  Bosch AA supports and facilitates colleges (students and faculty included) to set up skill development centres named as ‘JCC’.

What is the major challenge that the Indian service industry has been facing now?

Upto 2005, we had Bharat II emission norms with conventional systems having single Electronic Control Unit (ECU) while the next phase from 2005-10 witnessed Bharat Stage III, IV norms coming in with more electronics in powertrain and other compartments of the car with upto 25 primary ECUs in vehicle. The more electronics in the car is because of increasing demand for safety, comfort, connectivity, hybrid and advance car technologies.

In India, the service market has split up and more experts are coming in. Express Service, Quick Service concepts are catching on. The customers are looking for one-stop service solutions. The service workshops need high technology driven equipment to diagnose the trouble in the car. Starting from air-conditioning to power windows, tyre monitoring, powertrain and dashboard, a service station needs high-tech diagnostic tools. The technician should first have step-by-step report of the particular compartment of the car to repair it properly and quickly.

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