About: Selvarathinam - Managing Director

Team CVF as part of its “Knowledge Series” after presenting the industry and consultant perspective finally managed to snag a short interview with the dynamic MD of SAF Holland to present the vendors perspective on the Indian CV industry. Refer below to the Q&A session on CV industry developments from a vendor’s perspective.

1. With the industry starting to feel a shift in thought from upfront cost to total cost of ownership of a vehicle – how will this change the game play for premium players?

I feel this change will take some time to take effect. While the vehicle manufacturers are on board with this idea but it will be difficult to make end users understand. There is a need to educate the end users on this. At SAF Holland, we also produce premium products and honestly selling these products presents quite a challenge in a price conscious country like India.

The culture of companies, the Indian industry needs to evolve for this change to take effect. For e.g. if we sell our product at a price higher than the competitor then the customers do not look at the superior quality and durability of the product and its long term use, but they only look at the upfront cost aspect.

2. How is digital impacting the commercial vehicle industry? Is there an Uber like disruption waiting to happen in CV industry? How will it impact the CV players?

The business model in the freight industry is moving from weight based to time based. This is being tested and is currently happening only in certain pockets in the country, wherein small vehicles ply across the city and make deliveries based on certain time stipulations instead of traditional weight based model. Use of digital is leading to better utilization of vehicles and efficiency.

Digital is definitely going to revolutionize the industry. This will definitely have a positive impact on the CV industry.

3. How important is after market in the overall game play, especially in a country like India? Should this be one of the critical pieces to be answered/assessed while the product is still on the drawing board?

Yes, it definitely is. In case of the aftermarket industry, a player strong in the North India market will largely be available in the North India region and likewise another regional player will be available in their specific focus region.

However, OEM’s now need to marry their aftermarket platform with digital capability so that after market needs are catered to no matter where the vehicle is plying in India. For example: in the US CV industry an aftermarket player maybe able to serve its customer which is 700 miles away from its nearest location in 6-7 hours, however, in a similar scenario an Indian player may take up to 48 hours. These benefits arise from the implementation of strong digital platforms aside from obviously strong connectivity.

Join us at India’s leading Commercial Vehicle platform: Commercial Vehicle Forum 2016 ( on 24th November 2016 at The Westin - Chennai where more of such trends will be discussed by leading brands & experts.