Swedish automotive major Volvo is gearing up for a “value” game in the fast growing Indian bus market. The company has announced a dual-brand strategy in and under which it will launch a new bus product that would be pegged in between the premium and the traditional bus segments in 2014. Speaking at a media roundtable here on Wednesday Akash Passey, senior vice president, region international, Volvo Bus Corporation and chairman of the board of Volvo Buses in India said, “Between the top and the traditional, there is space for a new product. We see this mid, value segment to create a need for 10,000 units of buses a year and we are aiming to capture 20 to 25% of it.” At a later point Volvo will announce the name of this new bus brand. These value buses will be priced in the Rs 40 lakh to Rs 60 lakh range. Volvo bus plant at Hoskote has been augmented for higher volumes, to support domestic and exports (to Latin America, Mexico etc) requirements of value buses.
Hakan Karlsson, executive vice president, business areas, AB Volvo and acting president of Volvo Bus Corporation said the dual brand strategy is aimed at emerging markets. “We are starting the dual brand strategy with India. We already have similar strategy working for the country in Volvo’s construction equipment business,” said Karlsson. Responding to a query on investment, Karlsson said the company had announced a Rs 400 crore investment almost a year ago towards capacity expansion. Even as the market sees a slowdown, Volvo Buses grew during calendar 2012 and plans continued its growth in 2013 too. “So we continue our investment plans and India, which is a fast growing market for us,” he added. Volvo’s India vision is already begun to roll out. All the new products announced in 2012 start are already on roads. The Volvo Bus plant has already been expanded including the establishment of a larger warehouse, new paint shop, technical training centre, and a new chassis line, he said. All the products announced by Volvo during Auto Expo 2012 have all hit the road. Volvo 9100 coach is already moving into routes where there were no Volvos present earlier acquiring new passengers and new customers. Both Volvo 9400PX and Volvo 9100 have received good feedback in terms of fuel efficiency and greater comfort. Volvo 7400XL multi-axle city bus has completed successful trials on city roads in actual operations, said Passey.
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