Commercial vehicles in India have to go through a lot of abuse in terms of overloading or adulterated fuel. How does an MNC like Daimler look at that?
I wouldn’t agree with the statement that a customer abuses the truck. I think when a guy buys the truck, he does so to make optimal use of it. What we see as overloading today, it is a function of the whole ecosystem and it has nothing to do with that customer and driver alone. A lot of things have to be conducive if you have to move to an ideal situation. You have to understand the whole situation and then decide what are the steps that need to be taken to move to something better. In that, nobody should lose out.
From our side, we are very clear that our trucks will be providing reliability whether he uses it normally or what you say in abusive condition. He will be able to see a significant improvement in reliability with our trucks. So, that should give him better returns and lower cost of ownership. I am not on a missionary zeal to change the entire ecosystem here. I am focussed on my customer and what I can do in products and services to make sure that we make him more successful. As of now, we are focussing on only this missionary zeal and nothing else.
Your competitors’ big selling point is large network and big discounts. How will a new entrant like you compete?
Network, yes, because if you are selling trucks, then customers could use them across the length and breadth of the country. We have come a long way from 30-40 years ago where trucks would require every 5,000 kms oil change and all. Today, every company has moved to 30,000-km oil change. And reliability has also improved. However, for a customer, when a truck is moving on the road and every one hour he sees a dealership of the brand he owns on the highway, that gives him a lot of confidence. We understand that we need to be present across India to take care of any unforeseen event. We have contracted dealerships for three years in 70 locations and we are continuing to add more dealers to our kitty. By the time all our 17 platforms are launched, we will have 100 [locations], plus three years dealerships across India.