MAN boss Joachim Drees say India will be the next key market for the German brand, revealing he believes it will be one of the top five outside of Europe.
In an interview with the India Times, Drees outlined the steps the VW owned brand is taking to take market share in one of the world’s fastest developing truck markets.
“India is a key market and I come here often to focus on operations. We strengthened our management team here,” he said.
“We put one of our most experienced managers [Joerg Mommertz] here to increase volumes and also to improve exports out of India.”
Drees admits the recent demonetisation has seen MAN take a hit in India, but he expects a growth again in 2017.
“This year, we have to take a little bit of a downturn in November and December because of the demonetisation. But for us, India is one of the markets which are growing the most right now,” he said.
“We are more ambitious for 2017. The market should pick up in the second half of next year. Four weeks ago, I could have given you the numbers, but given all the changes to predict market trend in 2017 is a bit challenging.”
While India is a bed of growth for MAN, Drees knows there is stiff local competition.
“Indian competitors have the right products and are very strong in the budget segment, which is big. But as the market becomes more sophisticated, there will be more opportunities for global truck makers to grow,” he said.
“Efficiency has to grow, total cost of ownership has to go down, tonnage has to go up. We will see similar behaviour in the Indian market; it is just a question of time.”
MAN opened operations in India in 2006 as a joint venture but became a wholly owned subsidiary of MAN Truck & Bus AG in 2012. The brand also runs a R&D centre in Pune.