K. T. Jagannathan

Spreading brand awareness, building the foundation are the immediate tasks, says Voijs

CHENNAI: Volvo will adopt a step-by-step approach to grow its presence in the Indian car market.

Indicating this in an interaction with this correspondent, Paul de Voijs, Managing Director of Auto India Pvt. Ltd., said given its financial constraints vis-À-vis competition, Volvo would rather “take one thing at a time.” As such, it would opt for a gradual step-up in operations in India.

The Managing Director said in the current year, Volvo would add another three dealers to its current network of seven. There was lot of similarity between the Russian and Indian markets, he said. The luxury segment in Russia grew almost 10 times in a decade to five per cent of the total car market in 2008.

The immediate task before Volvo in India was to get established, spread the brand awareness and work on building the foundation. Mr. Voijs said the company sold around 91 units in 2008. This was up by around 50 per cent in 2009. Currently, Volvo imports its vehicles into India in a CBU (completely built unit) format. The import duty, he said, could influence the break-even point for the company should it opt for a local facility. Also, the company’s facilities in Sweden and Belgium “don’t run to full capacity.” As such, he said, “we don’t need extra capacity.”

Mr. Voijs said Volvo was planning to add to its existing product portfolio in India by bringing in XC 60, a sports utility vehicle, and S60, a smaller sedan.

“We are working on homologation for XC 60 to be imported from Belgium,” he said. Volvo was working on a world-wide launch of the smaller sedan, he added. “There is more potential at the lower end of the price pyramid,” he said.

The Managing Director said Volvo was trying to create brand awareness by participating in the Chennai Open tennis tournament and through product placement in the ‘3 idiots’ movie.