"People Opting For Volvo Cars Have More Sense Of Safety & Environmental Concerns" - Tom von Bondsdorff, MD, Volvo Auto India


Tom von Bondsdorff with Volvo S60 Cross Country India

At the recent launch of the Volvo S60 Cross Country in India we had a brief candid chat with Mr. Tom von Bondsdorff, Managing Director, Volvo Auto India where we talked about the S60 Cross Country, Volvo India's plans and Volvo Sweden's perspective on the Indian car market. Following are the excerpts from the chat: 


Q: Congratulations on the launch of Volvo S60 Cross Country in India. If you were to highlight few key features of this car what would they be?

Tom: I think this car is good for any part of the world and more importantly it is perfect for India. People in India love sedans but also want to own an SUV and here we have a car than combines the characteristics and features of both. The ground clearance of the S60 Cross Country is 201mm which is more than few SUVs here in India. So an Indian family can enjoy a good quality ride in the city and a weekend trip outside the city. This car is suitable for all types of roads in India and that is why I say this is a car which is made for India.


Q: Whenever any company launches a product there is always a segment of the market that the company tries to target. For the S60 Cross Country which segment of the Indian market have you targeted?

Tom: If you look at the market as a whole the luxury market in which we play is very very small. The product is a niche and it is obviously targeted at High Net Individuals (HNIs). And within the HNI segment we target those people who want to be different from others. Volvo cars are not for people who want to show off by purchasing expensive models. Customers of Volvo are people who care for other people. People opting for Volvo cars have more sense of safety and environmental concerns. They are more family oriented and care about the safety of their loved ones. Although such a segment is very small, we believe there are enough customers with these requirements. 


Q: As you just mentioned the market segment is very small and niche, what kind of sales numbers do you expect from the S60 Cross Country?

Tom: I am as curious as you are (laughs). It is very hard to say, I think the price is good so we expect the S60 to have large share of sales numbers within our portfolio. The next few months would show us what the reception is for the S60 from the Indian customers. 


Q: Do you have any plans to assemble the S60 Cross Country in India?

Tom: The S60 will be imported as a CBU in India. The decision to assemble the car in India would require greater sales numbers to be economically feasible. We are experiencing a good growth in India and are positive about future growth as well. Once we reach a stage where the sales numbers are good then we can convince the Volvo headquarters in Sweden to have an assembly plant in India.


Q: The premium car market in India is largely dominated for German and British car brands, so how does a brand from Sweden plans to make a mark in this segment? What is the roadmap of Volvo for India?

Tom: We plan to have a 10% share of the premium car market in India by the 2020. At the moment we have a market share of somewhere between 3%  to 4% of the premium luxury segment. We expect to capture a good market share with the newly launched XC90, S60 Cross Country and the upcoming S90 which will be launched by the end of this year will be another car the will increase our footprint. We are investing in India and expanding our network  to achieve our target for 2020.


Q: With the gap between petrol and diesel prices getting smaller and the Indian government trying to impose stricter regulations and taxation on diesel powered cars, would Volvo be keen on launching car models with more petrol engine options?

Tom: First of all I would like to say it is a bit wrong to punish diesel powered cars because our engines are already complaint with Euro VI emission norms which are way stricter than the current BS IV emission norms in India. Our cars have Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and we have the technology to make diesel cars as clean as petrol cars. The second point is, if the market anyway turns to petrol cars, we do not mind because we have a great range of petrol engines which we can introduce any time. We are prepared for whatever the market demands. 


Q: What is the perspective of Volvo Sweden towards the Indian car market compared to other car markets like China and US?

Tom: China is right now the biggest market for Volvo globally followed by Sweden and US. India is not yet in the top 10 car markets globally for Volvo in terms of numbers but definitely India is in top 10 markets when it comes to the speed of growth. The company is looking for growth and we are targeting India. Last two years we had record growth in India and that is why we are expanding our line-up with new launches.


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About Vivek Manjarekar

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2 comments:

  1. ts for future analysis.. growth in high improving.. at marketing features and running movements alleys' in an assembly line in India s

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    1. That was an absolute bouncer! Could you please give it another try??

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