The Indian commercial vehicle industry is going through one of its most challenging times and with social distancing the norm, the passenger bus segment has been hit harder than any other business.
However, despite the challenges in the sector, a Czech Republic-headquartered vehicle maker is still keen on entering India, armed with its unique product offering for people movement.
Torsus, which says it manufactures some of the world’s toughest heavy-duty off-road buses, is scouting for a partner to kick-start its India journey. The company currently produces its buses from its purpose-built factory in Slovakia. It has a global customer base and serves the heavy industry, utility and government service sectors, with its two customisable product offerings — the 37-seat Praetorian coach (prices starting from Rs 1.18 crore), and the nine-seat Terrastorm minibus (from Rs 45 lakh). Interestingly, Torsus is working in partnership with Germany’s MAN Trucks and Volkswagen on key chassis and powertrain technology.
Targeting key sectors as buyers
In terms of product positioning for its heavy-duty buses, Torsus is targeting 12 key sectors which include oil and gas mining, law enforcement, tourism, extreme sports and emergency relief operations. The buses can also be used by the armed forces, not for combat, but for transportation and or as a command centre.
The company sees India as a potential hub for its business, as in addition to the enquiries that it has received, the country is also home to most of the industries where Torsus buses make for an ideal fit, believes the company founder.
Vakhtang Dzhukashvili: "We already have enquiries from Indian customers, mainly from the tourism and mining industries.'
In his first interaction with Indian media, Vakhtang Dzhukashvili, co-founder and CEO, told Autocar Professional, “To be honest, we are watching India as we consider it as a giant that is rising. Obviously, from the business perspective, it can bring us sales because you have all the industries. You have all the industries to whom we can sell our vehicles and it is a huge country with huge potential. That's what our feasibility study told us.”
Scouting for a partner in India
The Czech-bus maker understands that making headways and establishing its presence in India won’t be an easy task, for which it is scouting for a reliable partner. “We are searching for a solid partner, because we definitely want to go there with the distributor . . . someone who is already well established in the country, who knows the heavy industry or heavy-duty industries. We can support such partners with a high-quality product. From our side, we would do our homework to make the product perfect to fit the Indian market. So, the doors for distributors are open now.”
Furthermore, the OEM is also exploring localisation and manufacturing in India, which can provide it cost benefits. Setting up a manufacturing base in India enables access to not only Asian countries but also to Africa, Middle East and American markets.
For the complete story and interview, read Autocar Professional’s April 15, 2021 edition.