Daikin has said it is on a stronger wicket now in India and seeks to lure first time air conditioner (AC) buyers with competitively-priced products as the Japan’s largest AC maker is transforming from a niche player to a volume player in the country.

While the company bets on inverter AC segment, it is looking to be price-competitive in the entry category of non-inverter segment. The optimism for stronger play in the entry segment stems from stronger local manufacturing base and supported by a range of new products.

‘Fat body’ category

“There is key segment in the room AC market and we call it “fat body” category that comprises new buyers who account for about 65 per cent of total volumes.

These are Maruti Suzuki type customers who look for value for money products. Localisation has given us a strong edge to be price-competitive now,” Kanwal Jeet Jawa, Managing Director, Daikin Airconditioning India Pvt. Ltd., told this correspondent.

Daikin seeks to attract first-time customers with products in the price range of Rs.25,000-26,000 in the near-term.

Presently, the entry price level is about Rs.30,000, down from about Rs.50,000 four years ago. “We want to be aggressive in the entry segment,” he added.

He said that India had now a strong and world class vendor base, thanks to the automobile industry. Daikin’s factory in Rajasthan now produces a range of Room ACs, water coolers and chillers. Barring compressors and controllers, almost all parts have been localised.

The Rs.2200-crore Indian arm expects the recently-launched R32 inverter AC range to be a game changer in the market, and hopes to sustain higher-than-the-industry growth rate, driven by new products and network expansion.

Mr.Jawa said the company had planned to spend the budget of Rs.330 crore, sanctioned in August 2013, on people and infrastructure development, factory assembly line expansion and branding and advertising this year.