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Volvo’s India R&D designing low-price global market medium truck


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The Economic Times  /  October 20, 2016

Swedish commercial vehicle maker Volvo AB has mandated its Indian R&D team to take the lead in developing medium duty trucks for global markets scheduled to go into production in 2017and it would be conceptualized and designed by the Bengaluru unit.

“In terms of contribution to the group, we are critical because we do a lot of other jobs apart from sales. The site in India has over 800 engineers and has been entrusted with the responsibility for developing a value truck. This is a global responsibility. So any value truck which is to be designed, improved, the responsibility will lie with the Indian side,” said Kamal Bali, managing director, Volvo India.

The team is currently working on a medium duty truck in the 10-15 tonne segment – positioned globally at price points between the mainstream ‘Eicher’ brand and the more premium ‘Volvo’ brand — which will be introduced in an overseas market next year.

“The whole product is owned by them – from concept to design to execution is being done by the Indian team. Of course, they take help from Lyon (France) and Gothenburg (Sweden) but they are leading the team. This truck could be not for India. Some of the products this site does may not be launched in India,” Bali said.

The product under development in the medium duty segment will not be launched in India as JV partner Eicher, through VE Commercial Vehicles, has about 33% share in the category with its own products.

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Volvo's India R&D developing trucks for global market

Business Standard  /  October 19, 2016

India is the third biggest R&D centre for Volvo after Sweden and France in headcount

Bengaluru is gaining a distinct identity on the global map of Swedish bus and truck maker Volvo. About 800 engineers, mostly Indians, are busy developing a truck the company’s Bengaluru research & development (R&D) centre that will be sold only outside India.

India is the third biggest R&D centre for Volvo after Sweden and France in headcount. “We design global trucks in India. A lot of R&D work on truck technology is done here. We are very proud that India is involved in a big way there. Volvo also has an IT wing that has 1,500 people doing global IT work for the Volvo group. There is also an accounting team of 300-400 people,” said Kamal Bali, managing director, Volvo India. The R&D centre, started with 100 engineers seven years ago, can add 200 more.

Volvo India forms only four or five per cent of the group’s global revenue of $42 billion, but Bali said India is much more important than this turnover. The Indian R&D team has a global responsibility to develop value segment trucks. For any value truck that is to be designed or improved, the responsibility lies with the Indian team and the product will be owned by the Indian side.

“Concept to design to execution is done by the Indian team. Of course, they may take some help when it comes to engines. But, they are leading the show. Some of the products this team will do will never be sold in India,” said Bali.

The Indian centre has successfully developed the Pro 8000 heavy-duty truck platform that was also launched in India (with Volvo’s JV partner Eicher) and in Indonesia and Thailand a couple of years ago. The next mandate is medium duty truck (10-15 tonnes) exclusively for the overseas market. “It will go into production next year,” said Bali.

Bali said the group finds the product gap in its portfolio and decision is taken to develop new products. A particular centre is awarded the responsibility to develop a product based on competencies and past experiences.

Volvo, which produces trucks, buses and construction equipment, is looking to grow India revenue from $1.5 billion to $2 billion in next couple of years. “We are going to be aggressive. India is looking very bullish and all categories will grow in double digits for us. We want to improve market share and need to grow faster than the industry,” said Bali.


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