In conversation with Jyoti Malhotra, Managing Director, Volvo Car India
Volvo Car India recently unveiled the new C40 Recharge in India. The electric coupe SUV promises a claimed range of 530km with its 78kWh battery and twin-electric motor setup delivers 408PS and 660Nm. On this occasion, we spoke to Jyoti Malhotra, head of Volvo Car India, about the C40 Recharge, brands strategy, and future plans.
Question: What's the strategy behind the C40 Recharge and the thought process behind this entire new launch?
We have talked about becoming an all-electric car company in 2030 and this is the next step in that direction. If you really see our main strategy is to expand the pond, we want more customers in India, in luxury segment to come forward and buy electric cars. And I'm sure this will help us do that. So now, we had only one car so far, very soon, we will have two cars. They are two distinct car lines and will attract two different sets of customers and for sure help us expand. I believe that is what we are working on.
Question: The presentation mentioned about Volvo Car India having a 25 per cent market share with the luxury segment that comes from one product alone. What are you thoughts on that?
Yes, with one car line, we have been able to - in the first five months of the year - based on the Vahan data - we are at 25 per cent share of the EV luxury segment. But it's not the market share which is important. The most important thing is to expand the pond, share is an outcome. But what we really want is more customers can come forward and buy electric cars. What we have seen so far, if I talk about within my own portfolio, close to 27 per cent customers are now buying electric cars and they are on board with one car line. I'm sure this offers a new generation electric car. This (C40 Recharge) has many more capabilities. It will be premium car for sure it is a premium positioning and premium pricing above XC40 Recharge. So, I think it will create a different market for us and expand the pond and have more customers coming and buying electric cars.
Question: You're trying and pushing the agenda of electrification faster than Volvo's global targets for that matter. How do you see those ambitions being achieved?
The most important thing is, globally, we want to become an all-electric car company by 2030. We believe in India, we can do this faster. Now how faster it's like an ambition. It's very difficult to put a timeline. But we want to do it faster than globe. That's a mission that we have at Volvo Car India team, how faster will depend on so many things. But I can tell you one thing based on these early days of XC40 Recharge having been in market for few months, I can see more customer ready to cross the line and buy EVs. The awareness has increased, willingness to buy and put money on table to buy an EV has increased, and it is increasing month on month. We all hear that most of the legacy companies talk about growing year on year. But I think start-ups grow month on month. I think is in that space, you will see EVs growing, whether it is in luxury or I think in in the mass market, the luxury cars are going to grow. I think luxury EVs will grow at a much faster pace and will shape the luxury market in India.
One important thing is globally, we have made our mind very clear. We are now doing all R&D and development only on electric cars, you will see only electric cars coming from now on which sort of tells that when we talk about strategy of becoming an all-electric car company that's what we will enable it. And the purpose we are doing this is not just for the sake of electric cars. For us sustainability is very important. We believe this is the route to sustainability not just by selling and producing electric cars. But I think producing in the right way, our plants, our supply chain, everything has to become sustainable. The whole ecosystem can then offer a better sustainability. We want to be some of a company that aims to protect not just the people, but also the planet.
Question: Is that why one of the reasons you brought the C40 Recharge than the EX90? B because cost efficiencies with the XC40 Recharge being assembled here makes it more efficient in terms of production.
There is a plan of bringing each of these cars. For us, it was the XC40 Recharge and then we had thought about bringing the the C40 Recharge. I think the other car lines have all been only globally revealed, they are not really yet hit the market. And at appropriate time, we'll talk about it. But right now our focus is what we have, and how can we do best out of that in India and how our consumers really understand the proposition that an EV offers. We were, I think, very successful with XC40 Recharge and we will be able to offer the same here, whether it is about the warranty on the batteries, or a service package, all those things sort of help our customers cross the line by an EV of our eyes.
Question: The XC40 Recharge and C40 Recharge are globally also sold as a rear-wheel drive option. Is there any plan bringing them down to India?
Now we offer (the XC40 Recharge and the upcoming C40 Recharge) a twin motor all-wheel drive. But those options are always open, we will evaluate how customers respond and how the market develops. And if need be those options are available.
Question: Will you be able to quickly bring them (RWD versions) down to offer to consumers in India or will take time again?
It takes a bit of a time. But ultimately let us first bring this (C40 Recharge) to the market. Look at how customers are responding. Based on the input from the customer, there is a need, these choices are always available.