Interview by Ashish Bhatia

Q. How did your journey in the commercial vehicles dealership begin?
A. We started with the body building business where we catered to various segments including special application vehicles for all Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). That helped us build a good clientele pan India and helped us to win their faith. We won their confidence by streamlining the body building process. Doing so helped us to offer better quality and a higher guarantee. It gave us the confidence to enter the dealership business. We started with a three-wheeler dealership and graduated to the CV dealership. Leveraging our experience in commercial three-wheelers, we turned to selling and servicing CVs above three-tonnes from Mahindra. The good part is, that Randhawa Motors has found strong support from Mahindra. It has made it easy for us to ensure that our customers are an extension of Mahindra family too. Such has been the support from Mahindra that it has given us the confidence to start a Mahindra Automotive dealership.

Q. Since you began two years ago, the market dynamics have changed rapidly. How do you look at this scenario from a dealer perspective?
A. The current market scenario is completely focused on the transition to Bharat Stage VI emission norms. Waiting for the launch of the BSVI vehicles, customers are looking at the best-negotiated price. The financial year (FY2019-20) did not fared well compared to the previous financial year (FY2018-19). Original Equipment Manufacturers offered heavy discounts in a bid to liquidate their stock.

Q. How have the operational dynamics changed post the BSIV rollout?
A. The post BSIV period started with the mandate to provide blowers in every new truck sold. As a member of Automotive Research Association of India (through our body building venture), new regulations like the bus body building code (AIS 052) truck cabin code. Many changes happened. At our end, with the operational cost of a dealership directly dependent on the fund utilisation, we are ensuring that we use funds judiciously. We closely monitor the stock levels with an aim to liquidate the stock as fast as possible. We can better rotate the inventory thus.

Q. What are the challenges in realising the ROI, and in operating an asset lean model?
A. We have set up business as per the norms of a dealership. Our dealership is fully loaded in line with the requirements to run business. Every facility required including the tooling setup to take care of a vehicle from the time it comes in from the OEM plant to the time it is delivered to a customer has been carefully planned. In the case of services, for instance, if a vehicle takes a longer service cycle it will lead to operational losses which we are wary of.

Q. How have the recently announced guarantee schemes from Mahindra Truck and Bus Division influenced business?
A. It has proved to be a big plus for the dealership. For instance, the guarantee on taking the truck back in case of a Blazo not deliver the promised mileage has helped us to sell better. Not a single customer has reached the point of having to return the truck. As a Mahindra CV dealer, to clear customer doubts on mileage, if any, we have been offering back to back trials with a dealership vehicle carrying the same payload and travelling the same distance as the customer vehicle to prove the point.

Q. Given the HDT slowdown, how has your business been impacted?
A. The slowdown has hit the industry. We are however banking on the relations built with our customers through our body building business. We are taking extra efforts to connect better with our customers. We are particularly focusing on the feedbacks pertaining to the improvement areas and incorporating suggestions to streamline future plans. As per the latest trend, customers are replacing their older vehicles with new vehicles in their fleet. While we anticipated a significant pre-buying ahead of the BSVI rollout, customers are instead selling their older vehicle and ploughing the capital gain back in their transportation business rather than to add new vehicles. It is a harsh reality that we are coming to deal with.

Q. MTBD has been promoting safety aggressively. As a dealer, have you been reflecting this mission to your customers?
A. Yes. For instance, the Blazo cabin on offer by MTBD is among the best in its segment. The cabin today is the driver’s office room, house and essentially what he lives out of. A truck driver’s family prays for his well being and expects him to return home with a smile. We feel that MTBD offers the safest cabin today. Our endeavour has been to promote a fully built cabin to our customers over that of a cowl chassis. We can see a change in the way the industry functions today from the way it functioned earlier.

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