Scania to ramp up research and development muscle

Scania to ramp up research and development muscle

Swedish global truck and bus manufacturer Scania is all set to ramp up its research and development facilities in partnership with L&T Technology Services to enhance its production capacity in India.

Scania Commercial Vehicles India (SCVI) Managing Director Anders Grundstromer said on Wednesday that the acceleration in the company’s R&D spend has been necessitated by the company looking to be more cost-competitive in the premium vehicle segment.

“R&D spend is necessitated by three factors. We are looking at producing components at cheaper prices. Besides reducing logistics costs, a focus on more local R&D will give us quality and cheap labour for innovation which can be used for our global production as well,” Grundstromer said.

Currently, SCVI’s R&D activities are carried out along with L&T Technology Services in Bangalore, with 10 and 40 employees respectively in the two entities. “We give them an hourly salary. We are planning to double the R&D division’s strength by doubling investments. In due course of time, the facility will be a full-fledged centre doing research in coordination with our global centres,” Grundstromer said.

He said Scania is very concerned over its product quality and very choosy while narrowing down on partners. “Right now, we have 12 partners for the bus segment and 40 for the truck segment. Once we expand the R&D facility, our efforts to give more know-how to our partners will be enhanced,” Grundstromer said.

Bus production

SCVI will formally start production of buses at its assembly line from January 2015 onward. “We started bus production in September and use this primarily to train our employees. Till date, we have delivered 40 Metro Link buses across the country and have an order book for 200 buses. Once investments are increased after 2017, we will ramp up production,” Grundstromer said.

Scania is also planning to produce Eco Link buses. “These buses can run on ethanol, biogas and electricity. We have already delivered one ethanol-based Eco Link bus to Nagpur. More queries are in the pipeline from various city and state transport corporations,” he said.

Scania has also come up with solutions to make biogas from municipal sewerage waste. “We have started constructing a production facility at our Bangalore production centre,” Grundstromer said.

On the marketing front, he said the company is planning to move north. “We have dealers in Kochi, Chennai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Now, we are planning new dealers in New Delhi and Kolkata.”

The company has around 60 touchpoints and will increase this to 200 by end-2015, which will include mobile workshops and dealer workshop to ensure hassle-free service to customers.

On the recruitment front, he said the company has 470 employees currently and will double its headcount by the end of 2015. The company presented its 150th truck to the BGR Mining and Infra Pvt Ltd on Wednesday.

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