October 13, 2011: On the eve of its 10th year in India, Volvo announced a new momentum to its operations in the country announcing approximately Rs 400 crore investment plans for the next 5 years. In the first phase of this plan, the company will expand its current industrial establishment to 2500 capacity and introduce a range of new products in the coming years – starting, as soon as 2012. This announcement now backs Volvo Buses earlier announcements to become a 1 billion USD company selling 5000 buses in 2015, which also envisages a new industrial establishment in the following phase.
Mr Hakan Karlsson, President & CEO, Volvo Bus Corporation, said, “Just as we enter the 10th year of our operations, I also see India ready for its next phase in progress. As we go forward and reach new scales of operations, Volvo Buses in India will extend its presence wider in the market, while also becoming our global hub for various selected models. We see the country becoming one of our largest markets globally. Volvo Group has built a strong footprint in India and we have the unique advantage of leveraging our synergies. A most enduring part of our success in India is that our success is measured not merely in numbers, but the way we have impacted quality of life for people in cities and travelling between cities. We will continue to drive our core values of safety, care for the environment & quality and plan to reach out to even more people in the country.”
This is a landmark for Volvo Buses’ journey in India, which started in 2001. Over the last decade the company has emerged as a leader in its class with a dominant market presence and in the process re-defined how people see buses. The Indian market has witnessed a paradigm shift in the bus business. While earlier, coaches built on truck chassis were the norm of the day, the entry of Volvo introduced the concept of a true-bus chassis with rear engines & also brought in a new purpose to bus-based public transport systems. Today, the company has presence in the inter-city luxury coach and low-floor air-conditioned city bus segments.
During this period, Volvo has also evolved from offering just buses to becoming a complete bus transport solutions provider.
Mr Rune Lundberg, Senior Vice President – Business Region International, Volvo Bus Corporation, said, “Volvo Buses’ success in India lies not merely in offering products, but the fact that we could join hands with the market to establish new concepts, ideas and expectations – both with long-distance travel & in public transport. India has one of the fastest growing cities and with an aspiring population the country will be an engine of our growth in Asia. I will not be surprised that our solutions created for India have an impact not only locally, but even in the global bus industry”
Mr Akash Passey, Managing Director & CEO, Volvo Buses in India, said, “The 10 year milestone is symbolic of the association that Volvo Buses has with the society at large and of course our partnership with customers and all stakeholders. We have grown with our customers and are proud that we have as our partners private operators, state corporations who are today are role models for the bus industry in India. At the advent of this ride we got to meet true visionaries who had the courage to choose our buses in a market where the concept of a true bus was absent. In the last decade we have introduced products and concepts, which were the first-of-their-kind in India – the true bus concept, the low-floor bus, rear engines, a new way to approach public transport and of course the recent high performing multi-axle bus. At each step, we worked towards bringing in a change that would redefine the way people travel and the way they see a bus.
Mr Passey added, “The need for buses as sustainable transport solutions is high in India and we aim to grow multifold in the years to come. From 1000 buses to 5000 buses. From 1000 people to 5000 people and become a billion dollar company. With the support of all our stakeholders, we will continue to drive the change and open up new applications & segments while consolidating our current position.”
Volvo Buses in India
Volvo Buses has been in India for close to 10 years and has the richest experience when it comes to high-performing bus applications. This, coupled with its state-of-the-art factory and overall profile of being a complete transport solutions provider, gives it a unique ability to be in the best position to understand the needs of the Indian market and configure products accordingly. Volvo Buses today operates across 12 cities in India, besides Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. It is the second largest European brand with a strong presence in key markets in Asia. At present, there are about 5000 Volvo Buses operating in the SAARC region, both in the city and inter-city segments.
The Volvo History.
10 years and still rolling strong.
Volvo launched its first bus in October 2001. Within six months of the launch the 100th Volvo bus was rolled out, clearly underlining the demand for such products in India. The company forayed into newer markets in all regions in a phased manner, starting with South, followed by West, North and East.
The overall response for the first inter-city coach was very encouraging. With more and more people opting to travel in Volvo buses, there was a rise in demand from customers – both private and institutional. By 2004, Volvo had become a ticket brand for bus travel in India, thanks to strong word of mouth communication from scores of satisfied passengers. Operators began building brands centred on their fleets of Volvo buses and the transport quality they offer.
In 2005, Volvo introduced the first low-floor air-conditioned city bus in India. Bangalore became the first city to adopt this bus. The success of Volvo city bus in Bangalore can be measured by the fact that the company received an order for 200 buses. BMTC introduced Volvo buses on the new airport route, which was located outside the city limits. This service has evoked encouraging response from people and now these airport buses collect almost 60% of the passengers arriving at Bangalore Airport. More importantly this service anulled the need for at least 60,000 car movements each month. This became a benchmark for other cities to follow and today, 13 cities in India operate Volvo city buses.
In 2008, Volvo Buses established an independent company – Volvo Buses India Private Limited – and inaugurated its Complete Bus Factory near Bangalore, which would be the first Indian company totally & singularly focused on offering bus related solutions under one roof. By setting up the factory, Volvo created a first in India by offering the entire bus – the chassis, the body and all accessories from under one roof. The new factory, was built based on Volvo’s global best practises and in effect was the most modern, even though it would have a capacity of about 1000 buses.
This was soon followed by the launch of the Volvo multi-axle inter-city coach. Not only was this the first multi-axle bus, but it also brought with it first-time features like Electronic Suspension, Electronic Brakes, more sophisiticated multiplexing and a range of other safety and performance features. It also raised the engine power to 340HP. This bus was not merely about a new product and image and attractiveness for the passenger, but for the fact that the Volvo 9400XL offered about 20 percent extra occupancy/revenue and at the same time provided even better fuel effiency per passenger km. In 2010, Volvo received an order for 100 Volvo 9400XL multi-axle coaches – the largest bus order for inter-city coaches in India by size and volume.
In 2011 when it seemed enough was done to establish a new market for inter-city and city segments, Volvo Buses announced its ambition for 500 percent increase in volumes by 2015 taking it to producing 5,000 buses per annum with a revenue of 1 Billion USD. By this time Volvo aims to export 20-25 percent of its volumes not only in South Asia but to markets beyond. Most importantly Volvo aims to build products to establish new segments. This plan also includes a plan to expand its current industrial establishment by 100 percent. Work on this has already started and the company is moving towards achieving its sated objective.
Volvo Buses today has over 70% market share in the luxury inter-city coach segment and over 50% market share in the low floor air-conditioned city bus segment respectively.
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