Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Interaction - Rajaram Krishnamurthy, VP-Marketing

We offer products that are best in class, designed to deliver maximum efficiency and industry leading durability

 

Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV) is a 100 per cent subsidiary of Daimler AG, Stuttgart,Germany, produces and sells BharatBenz trucks in the Indian market which is designed to provide the highest level of productivity with optimal total cost of ownership, thereby providing the best in Truck-o-nomics.

In an exclusive interview to RAJARAM KRISHNAMURTHY, VP-MARKETING & SALES AND CUSTOMER SERVICES, DAIMLER INDIA COMMERCIAL VEHICLES (DICV) speaks with CONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES about his company’s offerings, cutting edge technologies, aftermarket services and a lot more.

 

How do you assess the Tipper Trucks market in India in terms of cost/quality equations, sector challenges, and growth prospects?

We see growth in the Tipper segment, fueled by the investment by the Indian government in infrastructure-related projects. With the announcement of infrastructure investments for roadways, we see even more demand for BharatBenz products in the construction tipper segment where we already enjoy a growing customer base.

 

 

 

What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your business and what are your strategies to overcome these sluggish market conditions and expand market share.

Despite the global pandemic and economic downturn, DICV was able to outperform the Indian CV market and emerge from 2020 with significant increases in both domestic sales (up 46%) and incoming orders (up nearly 150%). 2020 was filled with strategic announcements that helped us shape our business and operations better and more effectively.

One of our new strategies will be to create ‘the best truck for every need’, customizing vehicles for use applications, and targeting specific sectors. This is to improve to serve our customers even better.

 

 

 

Tell us about the range of tipper trucks offered by you, in terms of types, applications and capacities.

We offer products that are best in class, designed to deliver maximum efficiency and industry-leading durability. BharatBenz is already strongly positioned in the construction and mining segment due to the robustness of our products, and in E-commerce where our products offer the best turnaround time and on-time delivery.

 

 

 

Any new launches or any new variants launched or being launched.

For the year 2021, our CV portfolio is focused on providing solutions to address challenges posed by COVID thereby enabling them to excel in their businesses and benefit society. 

BharatBenz earlier this year introduced eight new models including the BSafe Express (Intelligent Reefer for vaccine transport), 1917R, 4228R Tanker, 1015R+, 42T M-Cab, and 2828 Construction vehicle.

Our BharatBenz’s iconic 2828C is now available with 22 cubic meter loading capacity refreshed with COVID-protection features to cater to coal transportation. It comes with the longest wheelbase in its class, making it the most stable coal carrier in the market

 

 

 

What is the cutting-edge technology featured in your machines? What distinguishes them from competitors.

Being part of the global powerhouse of Daimler Truck, DICV has full access to a vast array of state-of-the-art technologies. We have a strong R&D team locally that tailors existing innovations to fit the Indian need of ‘more for less’ while maintaining quality standards.

We, therefore, cater to emerging new business opportunities in a very fast and focused manner, as evidenced by our quick localization and roll-out of an all-new, BSVI-compliant portfolio in 2020.

The key differentiator that BharatBenz offers is ‘ProfitTechnology+’, a package of technologies and features incorporated into our vehicles that ensures industry-leading fuel efficiency, safety, connectivity, comfort, and reliability.

The result is not only a lower Total Cost of Ownership but also improved peace of mind. We ensure our vehicles have the best levels of safety and connectivity so that customers know their vehicles’ goods, drivers and passengers are all secure.

 

 

 

Factors such as safety, operator comfort, ease of operations are crucial in any tipper truck. What are the steps undertaken by you for providing the same?

DICV set a new standard of cabin safety and comfort with its products in India. The customer feedback and response has been great, and it is clearly reflected in our growth.  We will continue to work in the future to provide an even better mix of safety and comfort equation to our customers.

 

 

 

What has been the impact of BS-VI norms on your product line? Your company’s strategy in this price-sensitive market.

DICV was well-prepared and ready for the BSVI transition, selling all of our BSIV trucks before the April deadline. The market has absorbed the price well and many customers understood it. It’s no secret that the new portfolio has helped us capture a much larger share of the market.

Since BSVI start of sales in April 2020, we are truly overwhelmed with the response we have received. The value offered by BSVI products is validated by increasing customer confidence, enabling us to outpace the market and grow market share to 10.6% in BSVI Phase. DICV recorded over 9,600-unit sales which is a drop of only 34% in an industry that recorded a market contraction of 60%. This is thanks to our made-for-India brand BharatBenz doing extremely well.

 

 

 

Aftermarket services as a strategic differentiator.

Aftermarket services is an important piece of the overall business chain and needs a dedicated strategy. Over the years, DICV has cultivated a loyal community base of loving customers who trust BharatBenz products right from the moment they own to routine service and repairs.

Our complete customer services can be managed with a single app called “Proserv” and it has 60+ features which addresses entire needs of product life cycle on their smart phones.

Since the beginning of our operations, we have focused on delivering best-in-class aftermarket services and continue to innovate our offerings and services to ensure customer delight.

 

 

 

Which are the major sectors that are driving the tipper trucks industry?

We see strong demand coming from construction and mining sectors that is expected to push forward the tippers truck category.

The finance minister announced that FY22 capital expenditure will be up by +34.5% (Vs FY21 BE) at `5.54 lakh crore. Roadways and Dedicated Rail Freight Corridors received major share of the spending.

In the next five years, infrastructure projects such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala and others and an expected uptick in real estate, mainly housing would result in a better demand for tippers.

 

 

 

Do you offer equipment finance, or do you have tie-ups with finance companies for the same? Any innovative schemes launched.

We continue to expand our partnerships to offer higher customer convenience. Last December, we signed MoUs with 18 leading banks for greater financing flexibility.

DICV’s move to sign MoUs with banks across the country is in line with BharatBenz’s customer-centric approach and commitment to providing a hassle-free buying experience.

Our new and existing customers now enjoy seamless support from leading banks- ICICI Bank, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Axis Bank, IndusInd Bank, Sundaram Finance, YES Bank, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services, Equitas Small Finance Bank, Tata Capital Financial Services, Shriram Transport Finance, SREI Equipment Finance Limited, PKF Finance, Federal Bank, IDFC First Bank, J&K Bank, AU Small Finance Bank Limited and Karnataka Bank to name a few.

 

 

 

Future outlook on the industry and from your company perspective

We strongly believe the challenges we are seeing lately are short to medium-term challenges and India offers a huge potential for growth as economic revival happens and CV market matures in its dynamics, efficiency, and business models.

One reason we are so confident about this is India’s size. There is a strong correlation between a country’s population and the number of trucks sold.

Compared to other economies like the US and Germany, India has far fewer trucks per person.

Hence, there is clear room for the market to grow. DICV is looking forward to capitalizing on this market growth with our BharatBenz CV brand.




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