“The mini-car segment is the toughest segment and very hard to break. In the last 10 months, we have managed to garner 15 per cent share and we are selling about 9,000 units a month. We created a platform for emerging markets ground up and for the first time in our 118-year history, a global car was launched outside of Europe, that too in India. So far, it has exceeded our internal expectations.”
Excerpts from the interview follow.
We cannot succeed if we don’t bring innovation. This is not just limited to design, product, features or technology. One of the biggest innovations for us was on cost. That is why everything about Kwid was built ground up. We wanted to sell a car at a certain price, so we went ahead with 98 per cent localization. Nobody has ever done this before in India. Barring some electronics parts, all major parts are locally manufactured. Today, Kwid is the biggest ‘Make in India’ story.
We have invested in a big plant, a very big technology center, which employs 5,000 people, two design centers in India and a global parts distribution center in Pune
. We got the basics right. For us it is a global car designed and developed out of India
On future plans and projections:
Our aim is to launch one new car every year. We have been able to come up with a new CMFA platform. We have understood the localization game and can go beyond 13 feet also. A platform can easily take 4-5 bodies of new styles. I already have 75,000 customers for the Kwid. Before we close the year, we will have 1,25,000 customers on the road.
The Indian customer is socially very aware. They want the latest and the best at the lowest cost. That is a combination which is very tough to create. If we see the same markets, 7-8 years back, the life cycle of a product was 5-6 years, but now you have to bring in changes every 2-3 years. If we have to bring something in India, it has to be innovative, it has to be a game changer.
On India’s potential as an export hub:
India has the potential to be a big base for parts exports. Our chunk of parts sourced for global operations from India is growing month on month. There is so much capacity lying here in our country that if we have favourable FTAs, it can be deployed for exports