Tomas Ernberg, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India
Tomas Ernberg speaks to Sumantra Barooah after the recent launch of the V40 Cross Country luxury crossover.
How do you see the market and the increased competition level with the introduction of the A-class, 1-Series and A3?
When we talk about luxury, it is plain luxury. We want to make sure the customer gets all that he wants. A lot of times, customers have to pay a lot extra for a lot of things. We are offering everything in one model. No hidden agenda here.
Do you plan to launch the S40 saloon here?
Yes, we will, in due time.
When will the first model on Volvo’s new modular platform strategy come out?
That one will be coming out in about a year and a half. This is still the current platform that we have. The new platform, which is called Scalable Platform Architecture, will come out within a couple of years with our future models.
Is the same strategy being planned for engines?
Correct. It’s called Volvo Engine Architecture. Today we have 7-8 diesel and petrol engines going from 1.6 to 3.0 litres. We are cutting that to two 4-cylinder engines (one each in diesel and petrol). We will differentiate them with different horsepower levels. We will do smaller but lot more environmentally friendly, fuel efficient and very very powerful engines. For example, with a 4-cylinder, 2-litre engine, we will be able to deliver power equivalent to a V8 engine with 300bhp.
Would you look at being more aggressive in Tier 2 cities in India?
We can be more aggressive because it is more convenient. To be aggressive in bigger cities like Delhi and Mumbai is very difficult. The presence of our German competitors is bigger and stronger in the metros. But slowly we are improving our sales.
How do you plan to address the relatively lower brand equity of Volvo?
One of the ways will be to increase our presence in the market. Our Gurgaon facility, for example, is located between our two German rivals, and we have better visibility than them. The second step is to take care of existing Volvo customers to make sure that they are completely satisfied with the service and product so that they in turn tell their friends about Volvo cars.
CKD operations in India will change things significantly for Volvo, won’t they?
We can still sell 20,000 cars, which is our target for 2020, through CBU operations. We do CBUs in many countries, where we sell more than 20,000 cars. Logistically, we are fine with that. Currently, we are able to price our products according to the competition.
Are you also speaking to some state governments?
I am not speaking to anyone.
By when would you like to have CKD operations in India?
Many brands have factories here. There could be advantages of having a factory here. Otherwise, some people will not do that. Yes, we reserve the right to look and investigate if there is a case because we also have to look at the investments in starting CKD operations. Today, however, there is no plan for CKD.
Would Volvo also support the entry of Geely, in some way, into India?
No. We are, and we will be, two different companies. We can say that, for the first time Volvo is a standalone company. We operate ourselves, which means that we have a greater responsibility of investments and profitability of Volvo Cars worldwide.SUMANTRA BAROOAH
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