Competition can be a tough taskmaster and Swedish commercial vehicle manufacturer is feeling the heat in the Indian market, albeit mainly in its bus manufacturing business. A lack of demand for its premium buses has seen the company announce plans to shut down its in-house bus body building operation at its plant in Narasapura, near Bangalore.
Scania India, which has two plants (one each for 1,000 buses and 2,500 trucks per annum) will, however, continue to produce bus chassis at the Narasapura facility. "The company will look to work with outsourced bus body manufacturers in India as it will be more efficient from a local market perspective," a company spokesperson told Autocar Professional.
In its response to Autocar Professional, a Scania India spokesperson said: "Scania India has had to stop production at its in-house facility for bus body production. Our manufacturing operations for bus chassis and truck chassis continue as before. 111 employees have been affected with this decision and 44 other employees are being placed at other Scania manufacturing sites globally. We still have 300 workers on our rolls for our manufacturing facilities. Scania is committed to the Indian market for the long term and we hope that the premium market for buses would grow in the near future. Our truck business continues to do well and we have a strong distribution partner in L&T for truck sales."
"Only the bus body manufacturing facility is stopping production Bus chassis, sales and after sales with maintenance on running and future fleet will continue as before."
Commenting on the loss of jobs at the bus body plant, the company says: "We are a responsible employer and have given the affected employees the best VRS package in the industry. They have all signed up for the separation basis the offer made to them and we are supporting them in finding new career opportunities.
All our existing and future customers and fleets will continue to be supported as per their maintenance contracts, spare parts are in full availability and we are committed to ensure a strong service offer to existing and new customers."
It may be recollected that in July 2017 Scania India had inked a partnership with the MG Group, India’s largest privately owned bus building company, for design and manufacture of coaches and buses for Scania India. Given the current situation of stoppage of in-house bus bodies, the Swedish CV maker will, in most likelihood, source its bus bodies from the MG Group.
Truck operations see upswing
Scania India says its truck manufacturing operations are doing well. "We are the world leader in heavy vehicles and our products are gaining popularity in the infrastructure and mining sector in the country. We continue to address the market through in-house production."