Volvo looks up to on-road trucks for growth

no3 copy
no4 copy Volvo outlook 3 copy

After tasting success in the mining segments, Volvo Trucks India is shifting its focus once again to on-road segments.

Story & Photos by:

Ashish Bhatia

The new chief of the Goteborg-based Volvo Group, Martin Lundstedt, has set the ball rolling. The winds of change are upon the Swedish truck major, and the undercurrents of this change are being felt in India. After tasting success in the mining segments with the FMX range of premium heavy-duty deep mining tippers, Volvo Trucks India is shifting focus to on-road segments after what would seem like a long hiatus. It was in 1996, and after deciding to invest in India as the country embarked on an ambitious plan to build infrastructure, that Volvo unveiled the famed FH and FM range of on-road long-haulage trucks under the leadership of Ravi Uppal. It was the beginning of a revolution in the Indian trucking arena. High cost and premium positioning posed a limitation, but the modern trucks rolling out of Hoskote near Bangalore created much scope for aspiration. With the central government, and the minister of road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, emphasising time and again on building road infrastructure and no less than 100 kms of new roads everyday, it is quite logical of the Swedish company to shift focus once again to the on-road truck segments. A reason for this could also be the continued replacement demand in the Medium and Heavy (M&HCV) truck segment. The trend in the M&HCV segment is also indicating a preference for trucks that can carry more.

Keen to adopt new metrics to measure success in the Indian context, 95 per cent of Volvo’s sales currently are contributed by the mining trucks. These account for the company’s 60 per cent volume sales in Asia, which is more than what the Swedish company sells in Europe. Having once competed in the on-road trucking space, it may not be difficult for the company to find its way inside. Especially now that it has Eicher to look at as a group entity. Volvo, in comparison to Eicher, is a premium brand. Given its global positioning it will very likely stay that way. It would be therefore interesting to see how Volvo Trucks India finds a way to carve a pie of the heavy-duty truck market, which continues to be price sensitive and TCO oriented. Keen on being assured of profitability, the Indian operator aspires for a Volvo truck for certain, but not without a clear understanding of the difficulties he faces. Volvo, on its part, is counting on its technological prowess. It is counting on its I-Shift Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) to make a difference. Launched in 2015, the I-Shift AMT has come to be a familiar term in Volvo buses. For it to be popular in trucks, there’s work cut out.

Claimed to be shifting away from a region-bound strategy, which was inclusive of a multi-brand approach, Volvo Trucks in India, it is evident, is in for a considerable change. “At Volvo Trucks India, over the next two-to-three years we are looking at a positive growth as far as the Indian market is concerned. Despite mining solutions being our DNA, we want to establish ourselves as a serious transport solutions provider,” expressed Pierre-Jean Verge Salamon, President, Volvo India Pvt Ltd. Salamon stressed upon improving financial performance for the stakeholders. “The foundation for the ambitious strategy (to become the most desired transport solutions provider) will rest on four key pillars, customer success, building of trust amongst all stakeholders, and passion and adaptation to change,” Salamon stated. Salamon added that the Indian truck market is ranked twelfth globally. Claiming to have delivered 208,000 trucks in FY2015, he drew attention to the fact that 98 per cent of his company’s sales came from the FMX mining and construction trucks. Of these, most were delivered by the FMX440 8×4 I-Shift. At Excon 2015, the company unveiled two dump trucks (FM520 and FM480) based on the FMX platform with a 60-tonne capacity, reiterating once again, its emphasis on the mining segment.

Volvo outlook start image copy volvo outlook 4 copy


That is about to change. Focus is shifting to on-road trucks. Despite attaining product efficiencies, in the case of transportation product portfolio, the company has struggled to reach the apt price points. The offering of I-Shift tech may help as the company finds new in-roads into the on-road trucking segments. The need would be for the I-Shift tech to address the Indian truckers’ often conflicting needs. Averred G V Rao, Vice President – Product Strategy, Brand and Marketing, “The I-Shift on all our offerings (FH, FMX and FM range) by FY2017 will mark the next big leap we wish to achieve.” Found first on the FMX 440 19.5 cu. m. tipper, the I-Shift tech has tasted success in ‘rough’ and ‘hilly’ applications. A 12-speed electronically controlled splitter and range-change automated transmission, I-Shift is laced with an advanced software in the FMX range. It is optimised for mining operations and characterised by a fast gear changing system, featuring minimum interruption in torque delivery during gear change. The technology claimed to have both, high starting traction and high average speed, continuously monitors road gradient, vehicle speed, acceleration, torque, load, rolling and air resistance. According to Rao, it reduces the stress on driveline and tyres, and in-turn translates into lower maintenance and longer service life.


Volvo outlook 2 copy Chassis riveting no2  copy

Today no fewer than 80 per cent of Volvo’s FH trucks are equipped with I-Shift, making this AMT (automated mechanical transmission ) virtually a standard feature. When it was launched in 2001 in Europe, there were AMTs on the market already, based on manual gearboxes adapted to permit automatic gear-changing. They were not that reliable. In 2002, one year after I-Shift was launched, 14 per cent of all Volvo trucks sold in Europe were equipped with it. The second generation I-Shift was introduced in 2005. The third generation model came in 2009. What is being offered as of current is the fourth generation model. The penetration of I-Shift, said Rao, grew to 90 per cent by 2015. Keen to find in-roads into the on-road trucking segments, the emphasis on I-Shift could help Volvo Trucks India bring about a change in the way the on-road trucking scene in India is currently like. The financial year 2016-17 will be an important year for the Swedish company. It is the year the truck market is expected to turnaround. The signals of this are visible for the last few quarters. The Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle (M&HCV) segment has done double digits. A lot is dependent on infrastructure development. The pace of its development.

Volvo Assembly tech

The truck assembly plant at Hoskote is spread across 122 acres. The layout is such that one line feeds into the other. It is based on the fish-bone concept according to Volvo sources. Producing multiple variants on the same line, the fish-bone concept is claimed to minimise efficiency losses and help find faults quickly. The head of the fish concept is that stage of the assembly where a fully-built truck rolls out. The bones of the fish make the sub-assembly lines that feed the sub-assemblies to the main line. There are two sub-assembly lines that feed to the main line. They contain multiple work stations, which carry out the task of building sub-assemblies. A few other sub-assemblies are a little away from the main assembly. They build crucial parts like the engine, which is fed to the main assembly line. Others execute the task of assembling the gearbox, weld the cab, and mount the superstructure and weld it. There’s also the paint shop. Annually 4000 trucks are made at Hoskote in a single shift operation. The operation can be scaled up to meet a rise in demand.

It takes two days to build a truck. As sub-assemblies feed to the main line, a truck is progressively assembled. A nine stage operation involves the riveting of the chassis members. The next stage involves routing of pneumatic and electrical cables. Brackets for assemblies like fuel tanks and air tanks are fitted at the next stage. At the fourth stage, the axles are mounted. Propeller shaft is also fitted. At stage five, the engine is married to the chassis. The cab is mounted at stage six. Various fluids are added at stage seven. Stage eight involves programming. Every chassis is claimed to have its own unique program, giving each truck an individual identity. The fully-built truck, which incorporates 28 per cent local content, is taken to the test track adjoining the assembly plant for a test run.

Given the volume the Hoskote plant turns out, the operations have been largely mechanised. Anticipating growth from focus on on-road segments, a gradual shift towards automation is likely. Costs will dictate the move. Said Helen Savmyr, Plant Head, Volvo Trucks India, that the aim to increase automation is to match Volvo Truck’s global plants, which are known to operate with minimal human intervention. An interesting bit of the production is a computerised process quality check where each truck is connected to a remote server in Sweden. The embedded software programs are checked. Various functions like lighting, accelerator, brake, gear shift are checked. A fault, if detected, is rectified. On the test track, trained drivers put the truck through its paces for 40 to 50 km. Before the truck leaves the plant, specially trained employees check it thoroughly. The axles are aligned with the help of laser guided alignment equipment. The Hoskote plant is ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certified. It employs 140 people.

Volvo points at a sustainable electromobile future

IMG_20151123_160150929-copy IMG_20151123_142351857-copy

Honouring efforts in the direction of sustainable mobility, Volvo pointed at a sustainable electromobile future.

Story by:

Anirudh Raheja

In an effort to felicitate outstanding contribution in the area of sustainable mobility, Volvo Buses India organised the fifth edition of Volvo Sustainable Mobility awards in New Delhi. Through the exercise, which dates back to a decade of successful journey, Volvo Buses honoured initiatives in traffic management, cloud based technology, road safety, and BRT systems that aim to develop public transport as an attractive transportation medium. With a prime objective of developing and deploying cloud based software system that facilitates efficient management of public bus operations, Mapunity, a Bengaluru based technology firm was adjudged the winner for its ‘Buscloud’ project. The award included a cash prize of Rs.12 lakhs. The Centre of Green Mobility in partnership with Ahmedabad Traffic Police received the first runner up award for their initiative tagged ‘The Crosswalk Lab’. This project aims to increase pedestrian safety and improve traffic management especially at the traffic junctions in a city. Advocacy against drunken driving’ project by ArriveSAFE was awarded for spreading awareness towards reducing the fatalities that happen due to the consumption of poppy, a popular drug for commercial vehicle drivers to stay awake during long journeys. ArriveSAFE has been actively working towards enhancing road safety. “It is all about the urgency with which all stakeholders are contributing to make cities better. And, it is not just about the solutions and ideas being presented,” said VRV Sriprasad, MD, Volvo Buses India.

For a sterling effort, the jury also gave special recognition to Rainbow BRT, Pune, and Atal Indore City Transport Services (AICTSL), which has been a joint initiative of Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd., Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation and Institute for transportation and Development Policy. The project has been aiming to regulate city bus riding across Pune and Indore through Mass Rapid Transit system and offer safe, reliable public transport and reduce private vehicle usage for daily commute. Volvo Buses also honoured IBUS BRTS, an initiative of Atal Indore City Transport Services, for their unique effort to cater to over one lakh passengers every day with just 100 city buses in Indore. The company also put the spotlight on its initiative, Engage. Volvo Engage is an effort to catalyse partnerships across various areas for sustainable mobility according to sources at Volvo Buses. Since road and vehicle safety program is a very disintegrated effort in India, through Volvo Engage, Volvo Buses is trying to assimilate various stakeholders to bridge the gap between what exists and what needs to be done.

The first of the two round table discussions held at the event focused on making the Indian roads safer for all (pedestrians and vehicles). With the market dynamics in India deferring from those in the developed countries, it was unanimously agreed upon by the panelists that building awareness and forming a public opinion for proactive adoption of safety measures along with the road safety bill is necessary. Mentioned Rajeev Lochan, Director, Road Safety, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, “There has to be a bill which is a true piece of legislation and has better acceptance across all sections of the society. It is also important to convey and implement that good Samaritans who will help on the road will not get into trouble while helping accident victims.” Lochan mentioned that urban congestion and poor infrastructure can’t be dealt with overnight, the need is to find little measures that can reduce road fatalities. Mentioned a panelist that everything cannot be done at the legislative level. Another panelist expressed that even at a micro level the collaborative efforts could bring about a significant change. Sunil Chaturvedi, CEO, Automotive Skill Development Corporation, averred, “Skilled drivers and technicians are required in a big number. Drivers should drive and technicians should carry out repairs. The role of the two cannot be mixed. Leaving the two to do what they most like will help towards reducing accidents. The same could be done by issuing certificates from training schools.” Piyush Tiwari, Founder and CEO, Save Life Foundation, said, “At a micro level, education has never had a measurable impact on road safety. The techniques of safety are fine but need to be enforced effectively. Effective enforcement is tough, and the only way it could be achieved is through technology. There is a need to combine education, assessment and enforcement.”

The second panel discussion was on electromobility. One of the participants drew attention to the dangerous levels of pollution attained at Delhi. He added that there was a need for alternate propulsion mediums in the country. Stated a panelist that they have been witnessing a steady rise. Another panelist said that the need to was to curb pollution. It will be impossible without taking private vehicles off the road and enforce public transport for daily commute, he added. Anumita Roy Chowdhary, Director, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that Delhi is already running short of choices. There is an urgent need to enforce radical measures like robust public transport along with quick escalation to BS IV and BS V emission norms, she added. She also stressed upon the need to introduce electric technologies that can address the impact of vehicular emissions in India. Mentioned VG Ramakrishnan, MD—South Asia, Frost & Sullivan, “Providing incentives for the uptake of electric vehicles can play a crucial role but it is very important to implement a technologically neutral fuel, and not just blindly implement anything like how the Delhi government did for CNG without understanding the basics of the propulsion medium.” For a country like India, where coal is a big source of making electricity, curbing pollution is not as simple. Akash Passey, Senior VP, Business Region International, Volvo Buses, averred, “If you have buses that are creating pollution, it is spread across the city. When you are moving to electric buses, the power plant has its own regulations and treatment solutions before the smoke is given out and then it is centralized which means that you have emissions centralized at one place which is probably outside the city.”

Vehicular emissions have been one of the biggest contributors for the air quality levels in Delhi to have deteriorated. The air quality is expected to get worse. More than 1.5 lakh road fatalities happen every year on Indian roads. If the trends continue, the figure can go up to 2.25 lakh by the year 2025. The need is to look beyond regulations, and the compelling need is to follow the rules. A significant change will get underway when all the stakeholders come together in a purposeful passion to attain sustainable mobility in India.

Volvo delivers 10,000th truck in India

Volvo Trucks, synonymous with the high performance mining and over dimensional transport applications, has set a new benchmark in the premium heavy-duty commercial vehicle segment with the delivery of the 10,000th truck in India.
The country’s largest truck manufacturer in premium European segment, on June 18, 2015 achieved the landmark of crossing ten thousand truck sales. The company’s recently launched technologically advanced Volvo FMX 440 8×4 I-Shift which is leader in its class, was handed over as the 10,000th vehicle to M/s Mahalaxmi Infracontracts Pvt Ltd , who have over 350 Volvo trucks and a long standing relationship of over a decade with us. Mr. Pierre Jean Verge Salamon – President, Volvo Group Truck Sales, India, did the honours along with Mr. Rama Rao A S – SVP Sales, Marketing & Aftermarket, Volvo Trucks, VECV, at the ceremony conducted in Bengaluru.
Driving change for the industry
Since its rollout of the first truck way back in 1998, Volvo Trucks has been committed to driving progress in the industry. Even when the commercial vehicle industry in India was working with age old technology and drivers were not at forefront of product and service development, Volvo being true to its Scandinavian heritage, was the first to introduce fully air-conditioned and crash tested cabin in trucks and pioneered the Driver Training concept by establishing the Driver training center even before first truck was rolled out.
Over the years, Volvo Trucks in India have become synonymous with the mining and construction industries where the 8×4 concept introduced in the mining segment has become the industry norm in the country and the innovative 10×4 Dump truck concept introduced in 2012 has also established itself. Being the customer’s best business partner Volvo Trucks innovations were not limited to products. In order to support the customers’ right through the lifecycle of the products, it pioneered the concept of container workshop at remote mining locations and on-road assistance through Volvo Action Service.
Elucidating the development since 1998, Mr. Rama Rao A S, Senior Vice President, Sales Marketing and Aftermarket, Volvo Trucks, VECV said, “Our commitment to continuous improvement drives us forward and inspires us to be focused on driving progress the industry. You can see our innovative approach at work in all our processes, but we don’t innovate just to impress ourselves or others. We do it to meet a real life need. Our long tradition of developing market-leading technology and solutions with products operational for over 45,000 engine hours in tough and challenging Indian mines is proof of this. Today Volvo Trucks facilitate around 1/3rd of coal production in India by moving overburden in the mines and in the process has been driving progress for the country. The support from the industry has been encouraging and has helped us deliver what it takes. Yet, for Volvo Trucks and our customers, our most recent innovation is just the beginning.”
Partners in Progress
Over the years Volvo Trucks has built up an elite customer base having over 100 vehicles in their fleet operating at various mining sites across India. The customers vouch by the high reliability and productivity and have expanded business operations at a fast pace with quick return on investments. Being a complete solution provider, Volvo Trucks considers that their responsibility does not stop with handing over of the keys and extends support to customers’ right through the products’ life cycle with a wide network of service and parts centers and onsite assistance.
Speaking at the handover Mr. Pierre Jean Verge Salamon, President, Volvo Group Truck Sales, India said, “Over the last 17 years Volvo Trucks has been driving progress in the Indian commercial vehicle industry. From the first high performance European tractor trailer to the recent launched technologically advanced truck range, we have personified performance, productivity and profitability for our customers. We understand what our customers need and will come to need. That is why we constantly innovate.” He further added, “Reaching the 10,000 mark is a testimony to the fact that the new high tech capabilities and the wide range of benefits of our offerings are suiting the Volvo customer.”
Committed to growth story of India
The progress of India is closely entwined with the progress of the mining, infrastructure & transport industry. With the recent developments in the Indian economy and with the boost in mining and infrastructure sector, there are countless infrastructure developments taking place in India, providing significant opportunities for commercial vehicles in terms of transportation and logistics. The ongoing coal block auctions and lifting of the ban on iron ore mining in several states have created the demand for heavy-duty tipper trucks and ambition of Volvo Trucks is to capitalize on these development and continue maintaining its leadership position in the European truck segment and further improve on it.
Mr. Pierre Jean Verge Salamon, President, Volvo Group Truck Sales India, outlining the path for Volvo Trucks backed by these major developments said, “Volvo faces with considerable confidence a future characterised by major opportunities in the industry, not least the demands & aspirations placed by the industry. We at Volvo Trucks want to maximize our operations with the range of technologically advanced transport solutions, offering total peace of mind to our customers and facilitate their growth and thereby continue to be the No.1 preferred truck brand in the premium European segment.”  He further mentioned that, “With the gradual turnaround the economy is witnessing and this milestone of our 10,000th truck delivery is a reiteration of the need for such technologically advanced solutions in the market. We are looking at exciting times and I am happy to say we are ready to meet these opportunities.”
Volvo Trucks is currently present in India with more than 150 touch points across the country including state-of-the art workshops and various service support centers.396ee1ce-0962-4660-b547-fd1a24517c0f_TempBig

Volvo to export buses to Europe

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar
In what could be termed as a significant development, Volvo Buses India, a decade and a half after it stepped into India, has begun exporting buses to Europe.Beginning its Indian journey by launching the B7R, 12 m long two-axle, inter-city luxury coach in 2001, Volvo Buses India Pvt. Ltd. has begun exporting fully-built, Euro 6 emission compliant buses to Europe. This initiative is an outcome of the Asia leverage program, which was launched in 2011 with the view of exporting products from India and China. Aimed at an inter-city coach segment in Europe that typically does between 100 and 300 km according to Akash Passey, Senior Vice President – Business Region International, Volvo Buses, the buses destined for Europe contain an imported driveline. To comply with Euro 6 norms, they are equipped with the SCR and other related systems. The body is 100 per cent indigenised. A two-axle design (like the B7R), the Europe-bound buses according to sources at Volvo Buses India, will be similar in appearance to the buses that are found in India. They will thus be imported as fully-built units, and have been built taking into consideration the feedback of European buyers.

Marking an entry into the new era according to Hakan Agnevall, President, Volvo Buses, the Europe-bound buses will also carry some engine components that have been sourced through Volvo Eicher’ joint venture engine plant at Pithampur, Indore. Said Agnevall, “We are the first bus company to export buses to Europe. Present here for fourteen years, we are taking the next step of the Asia leverage strategy.” As part of the Asia leverage strategy, Volvo first embarked on a plan to expand the bus plant at Hoskote, Bangalore. Pledging to invest Rs.400 crore, more lines and processes were installed; new paint shop was installed along with a warehouse, and a training and skills development centre.

An R&D centre was also setup, and has 50 engineers who help with driveline and body parts of the products. Enabling the company to offer better products and facilities locally, the plan according to Akash, also coincides with the prime minister’s plan to ‘Make-in-India’. Coming to include other activities as well, over Rs. 400 crore has been invested till date. Set to cater to a market estimated to be worth 5,000 units, and having the presence of Daimler, Iveco and many home grown brands in Europe, the European export initiative according to Hakan rides on a substantial competence built at Bangalore.

The Europe-bound buses will see some amount of customisation according to Hakan. Like the placement of ticket vending machine, etc., to satisfy the requirements of the European clients. Rolling out of the Hoskote facility, which has an installed capacity to build 1,500 buses in one shift post the expansion – before expansion it was 800 units, these buses are also bound to reflect on Volvo’s intent to bring hybrid and electric buses to India. Said Hakan, that the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric (FAME) vehicle program marks a good initiative by the government. “We are in dialogue with the government to participate,” he added.

Interview: Akash Passey, Sr. VP – Business Region International, Volvo Buses,
and Hakan Agnevall, President, Volvo Buses.

How do you look at the India journey of Volvo Bus – from entry into India, until the European export initiative?

Volvo has been driving a revolution. It has changed the Indian bus market towards seeking fully built buses. This is akin to driving a complete bus change, and amounts to a significant development. We have stayed ahead of the competition by introducing new products. We have upgraded ourselves locally through exports. We have also benefited locally from installing new processes and methodologies. The last four years have been quite defining.

How do you see the European export initiative benefiting the Indian clients?

European regulations are different from that of the Indian regulations. The mapping that we did therefore, would also benefit our Indian clients. An example is the application of double glazed glass. In India the regulation is for the use of single glazed glass. Our Indian clients will benefit from the use of double glazed glass.

Any specific reason why you chose India over China?

We looked at a segment that is existing, and found out that we have the right competence in India. The product that we have in India is a global product. Even though it is made as an Indian product. We therefore found that the Indian footprint would make a competitive footprint. We chose India over China because of the full control over business. We also see our competitors starting to do substantial investments. We encourage competition as we feel it will promote the quality of buses in India. The Indian operations of Volvo rank among the top 10.

Now that you are beginning to export buses to Europe, are you happy with the quality of the suppliers here?

Let me put it differently. Customer expectations are growing, and it was natural to address them. So we acquired vendors as part of our acquisition of the body building business. We are generally happy with our suppliers in India.

In India there were some accidents involving Volvo buses. Has this prompted any change?

We are working with the authorities to address the legal issues. When an accident happens, the government looks into it. At our end, we have a global team that looks into it. We took Indian accidents quite seriously. We designed a coach concept to have options that are also found in other markets. We are also offering options as per active regulations. We are a global company and offer
global solutions.

There have been experiments in the area of buses powered by alternate fuels. Are you also looking at an alternative to fossil fuel?

We did an analysis, which showed that future driveline sustainability will stem from electric solutions. It had to be less polluting and more efficient. We looked at hybrid, which we are producing since 2009. We have delivered 5,000 hybrid and fully electric buses. Under the hybrid portfolio we also looked at electric hybrid. We recently introduced a full-electric bus at Gothenburg in Sweden. Electric solutions will gradually take over as a urban mobility source for reducing CO2 emissions, noise, etc. Electric solutions are confined to infrastructure. Hybrid therefore looks like a sustainable infrastructure. Three cornerstones for us include hybrid, hybrid-electric and electric. We are offering battery per km cost so that the customers know, and we want to create common infrastructure. We have sold hybrids all over the world. We are trying them in parts of Asia. We are in dialogue with the government to participate. We believe that some of our competitors are also trying new solutions. Some of these may have failed to find sustenance in
other markets.

Customised Volvo bus promotes Godrej locking solutions

Article by: Bhushan Mhapralkar

DC Design and Godrej have highlighted the other side of luxury by employing a luxury coach to promote Godrej locking systems and solutions.

It may sound highly unusual; even insane. The task of procuring a fully-built 15 m-long luxury coach and customising it to promote a range of locks. Defined by Oxford dictionary as a mechanism typically operated by a key to keep a door, window, lid, or container fastened, the use of luxury coach as a media to promote something as humble is certain to sound too far fetched. This is however not the first time that a well known manufacturer of locking systems and solutions in India has taken to a bus to customise it in an effort to reach out to a target audience. Mumbai-based Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co., in association with DC Design, built a Mobile Experience Centre (MEC) some three years ago, and called it the MEC-1. Two years ago, it did a similar exercise, albeit on a bigger bus, and called it the MEC-2. It has now done it again, and this time, on an even bigger bus. The MEC-3 is thus built on a multi-axle Volvo 9400 bus measuring 14.5 m in length. Dedicated to the promotion of a range of locking solutions and systems that Godrej has to offer, MEC-3, painted in an attractive shade of black with orange bands on either side, and an ultra large windshield at front, will travel across the country with stop-overs at Mumbai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Raipur, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi and Vizag. It was flagged off from the Mumbai headquarters by Shyam Motwani, Executive Vice President and Business Head at Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., and Prasad Gupte, General Manager, IMC and Trade Marketing, recently. Set to seek the attention of architects, interior designers and contractors, MEC-3 will draw attention to the innovation (led by design) in the area of locking systems and solutions.

A result of a highly ambitious project according to Dilip Chhabria, Founder and MD, DC Design, what is surprising about the MEC-3 is it being based on a 15 m long multi-axle luxury coach that can otherwise ferry up to 53 people over long distances in high levels of comfort. Even the cost of such a bus is no less than one-crore rupees to start with. Rightly termed as a highly ambitious project by Chhabria, MEC-3 was designed and developed to elevate the appeal of the locking solutions Godrej and Boyce has to offers. Taking it to the next level. Third and perhaps not the last in the series of mobile experience centres built by DC Design exclusively for Godrej and Boyce, MEC-3 will present architects, interior designers and contractors an opportunity to touch and feel the range of Godrej locking solutions and systems. Leveraging on the success of MEC-1 and MEC-2, which are out touring parts of the country and have managed to reach out to their target audience, exposing them to the locking systems and solutions Godrej has to offer, MEC-3 takes the concept to the next level. Presenting new, state of the art designs that are ideal for residential and commercial applications in an attractive shape and style of presentation. And, almost at the door step. Found on MEC-3 are thus a range of locking solutions, electronic and analogue in nature. In the form of smart, electronic locks and customised locks produced for industry specific applications.

Explaining the idea of creating MECs as an opportunity to reach out to architects and engineers rather than call them to a brick and mortar showrooms, Gupte described them as the busiest and whackiest lot. Stating that they have had the experience of working closely with leading architects like Hafeez Contractor, and their projects, Gupte mentioned that MEC-1 happened three years ago. “MEC-2 happened two years ago. MEC-3 adds to the two experience centres we built, and is bigger. It will facilitate our trade focus,” he added. Speaking about the creation of MEC-3, and the use of a orange band across the sides, Deepak More of DC Design, stated that the design had to look like a huge 3D mobile sculpture, “It had to shock and awe, as if a futuristic spaceship has landed”. “The interior was designed in such a way that it would be organic as well as look asymmetrical from left-to-right, and from the front-to-back,” he said. This design philosophy led to the creation of a unique sinewy look and feel.

Intending to numb people with its ultra high-end classy and organic surfaces, the interior of MEC-3 attempts at replicate some concept cars and yachts even as it displays a range of aspirational locking systems and solutions. If the combination of an orange band over a smooth black surface was done to present a 3D impression, and to make a clear distinction in terms of style and boldness, the use of dual-colour scheme was done to hint at niche product positioning ability. An effort was made to amalgamate digital engineering and craftsmanship. Also looked into, according to More, was an ability to infuse acute styling sensitivity. Confirming to CMVR regulations under special application vehicle, MEC-3 saw 30 people at DC Design work on it. It took three months to build the vehicle. Expected to run for five years, MEC-3 adds a new dimension to the use of a multi-axle luxury coach. A few years ago, actor Shahrukh Khan invested in a vanity van that was built on a similar multi-axle luxury coach from Volvo. The creation of MEC-3 may be a logical extension of an experiment in the form of MEC-1 and MEC-2 gone right, it marks the culmination of the abilities of Godrej and Boyce to take a bold step to invest a considerable sum towards its creation, and for DC Design to think out of
the box.

Highlighting creativity with a practical edge to it, MEC-3 subtly endorses the fact that 600 million Indians use Godrej products. It represents a locking systems and solutions market that is estimated at Rs. 4,200 crore. Stating that Godrej is happy with the creation, Gupte described Chhabria as an entrepreneur with the brain of an engineer as well as a designer. He may not be off the mark. MEC-3 marks the creation of a mobile experience centre that presents a design-led innovation as a concept that blends design excellence and functionality into a manufacturing process. And, with customer centricity as one of the core pillars.