DaimlerChrysler turns the corner

Hans-Michael Huber, managing director and CEO of DaimlerChrysler India loves tennis because the game has many parallels to the luxury car business. It requires competence, commitment, target-oriented use of strengths and visionary instinct. He has experimented with it and applied it well during the past three years in India.

In the red till 2000, the Indian subsidiary of the German auto giant has started making profits under his leadership. The company's profit now varies between Rs35 crore and Rs40 crore a year. His strategies have pushed the sales volumes as well. From average sales of 500 units a year DaimlerChrysler sold 1581 units in 2003. Huber spoke about the factors, which helped him for a turn-around and the company's Indian strategies. Excerpts:

Mercedes-Benz, the technology leader in the luxury car segment, has made an appearance in almost all large cities in India. What strategy did you adopt to popularise it among the upper middle-class segments?
Apart from cost reduction and restructuring, our business strategy was focused only on two things: offering a family of cars to customers and having a healthy business relationship with our dealers.

I feel our major drawback was the absence of a bouquet of products. Our marketing strategy was dependent on a single product. Now, we are offering a range of products such as the Mercedes E, C and S classes. This apart, to make our business model robust despite the small volumes, we have enhanced our dealers' network. The support they had extended helped us to make the turn-around.

Tell us something about your new launch, the E270 CDI?
The Mercedes-Benz E270 CDI will be the trendsetter in technology, design and driving experience as it is packed with the elegance, features and styling characteristic of the E-class range. It packs a power punch of a phenomenal 425Nm @ 1800-2300 rpm with the power output of 127 Kw (173 Hp).