Emmanuel Levacher is senior vice-president (international business) at VE Commercial Vehicles Limited India, a Volvo Group and Eicher Motors joint venture. As the in-charge of the company’s export and international business, Levacher frequently travels to various countries. A graduate in Business Administration and Political Science, he has worked in the same capacity at Renault Trucks and also served as vice-president, Sales and Marketing Asia and Africa. Levacher was in Kathmandu for the launch of Eicher trucks last month. In an interview with Modnath Dhakal of New Business Age, Levacher discussed the features of the vehicles and Eicher's market position in Nepal. Excerpts:
What are the purposes of your visit other than the vehicle launch?
This is my first visit to Nepal. Primarily, I am here to launch the new range of Eicher trucks. But I also wanted to pay a visit to our partner here - Batas Eastern Motors - and meet our customers. I would like to get the feedback from the users of our vehicle. It's important to know what is going on in the market and how we can improve our performance.
What are the Eicher products available in Nepal?
Eicher has a full range of products. We have just launched the Pro 1000 series of trucks and very soon Pro3000 and Pro6000 trucks as well as the skyline buses will be available in Nepal. So far, trucks ranging from 5 tonnes to 14 tonnes capacity are available. Now we also have 16-tonners and 25-tonners. Eicher has trucks up to 40 tonnes capacity but Nepal is not the market for such vehicles.
What are your expectations from the Nepali market?
In the vehicle front, Nepal is a rapidly growing market. When the economy grows, the truck business goes up because the development works need more transport and vehicles. In a country where the railway system is not developed well and where most of the transportation takes place by road, there is very high demand for trucks and buses. So, our first expectation is the market will grow in the coming years. Our second expectation is to increase the market share of our products. Currently, we are at the second position with 13 per cent market share. We have been progressing gradually. Last year, our market share was 12 per cent and two years ago it was 10 per cent. Our market share will increase in the coming years.
What are your USPs?
Our products are known for fuel efficiency which is even better in the new range of Eicher vehicles. Then we have payload capacity especially in the light- and medium-duty ranges. Reliability and durability also are the features of our products. Our new products have more features for driver's safety and comfort.
At a press conference organized a couple of weeks ago in Kathmandu, you announced that you would soon be unveiling another vehicle series in the Nepali market. Which vehicle are you going to introduce?
We are going to launch Skyline buses in Nepal soon. Skyline has improved interior. Eicher buses are doing very well in Nepal; we are number one in the 'school bus' segment and number two in the ‘small bus’ segment.
Eicher has termed its news products as "New Generation Range of Trucks". Could you explain that?
Pro3000 and Pro6000 have engines with EMS (Electronic Management System) from the Volvo Group. They also come with much better optimized driveline to ensure fuel efficiency. We are able to offer new features like fuel coaching, cruise control etc. which are unique for this market. Fuel coaching provides real time flow of fuel consumption to the driver. These are really unique features in the automobile market today.
What is your market position globally?
Being an Indian manufacturer, we are very strong in India. In the light- and medium-duty segments, we have more than 30 per cent market share there. Our market share in the bus segment is around 13 per cent in India and it is growing. Now we are focusing on heavy-duty vehicles. Last year, we exported 6,000 units, up 76 per cent than the previous year. These products were mostly sold in South Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our products are performing well in the market but we are spearheaded for the application of better and improved technology.
Do you have any suggestions to your vehicle users?
I suggest buying and testing them. Eicher has a wonderful range of products; you can find the one fit for your requirement.