At a time when commercial vehicle (CV) sales in the country are being hit by economic slowdown blues, Sweden-based Scania commercial vehicles India is aiming for a bigger play in the premium buses category, which is currently dominated by Volvo Buses India and Mercedes Benz.
As per the estimates, around 600 premium buses (priced between Rs 11-12 million) were sold by the company in 2013, which is expected to grow to 800 units in 2014.
The company said that it is looking at a market share of 30% in the premium bus segment by 2015, expecting to sell around 1,200 buses a year in the Indian market.
With increasing demand for the luxury buses for inter-city and intra-city travel, the company is looking at launching the entire range of buses once it starts manufacturing buses at its Bangalore plant in August this year.
Despite the overall de-growth seen in the CV segment, the company expects a return in demand in certain segments like mining, coal imports and premium buses, which have been hit in the past one year due to policy paralysis. "By 2020 we will have a market of about 4,000-5,000 buses a year and we will have a 30% market share," said Anders Grundstromer, managing director, senior VP, Scania Group.
Currently, Volvo is the biggest player in the luxury buses category, having a market share of about 50-60%.
Scania has sold 180 buses so far. Despite being the late entrant into the Indian market, the company is hopeful of the potential of the Indian bus and commercial vehicle market. "When we started Scania Russia is 1997, we were the late entrant, almost 10 years after Volvo, but today we are bigger than Volvo Russia. Give us a few years in India too," said Grundstromer.
Apart from targeting the intra-city travel, the company is also looking at getting into city buses. The company is already in talks with various state governments to launch its buses in cities like Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and others.
The company has so far invested Rs 300 crore in Indian operations and has a capacity to produce 2,500 trucks and 1,000 buses at its plant. The company recently started exporting to countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. It has set a target to export 100 units this year.