Global truck and bus maker Volvo has been around in India for a long time and the Swedish auto giant has definitely made its mark in the country. Speaking to the CNBC-TV18's Poornima Murali, the president of the group's trucks division in India, Pierre-Jean Verge-Salamon, says the next big trigger for the entire trucking industry in India will be the passage of the landmark GST Bill, paving the way for more freight transfers across the country.
Below is the transcript of the interview on CNBC-TV18.
Q: Let me begin by asking you in terms of the challenges that you see currently in the auto sector?
A: If I could reflect, actually I don't see a lot of challenges in India, I see lot of opportunities. The truck market has reached a fantastic momentum last year. We saw an overall increase of 33 percent. The economy is the most dynamic in the world with 7 percent more growth. So, it means that all is geared, it is set for dynamic growth and for dynamic truck market.
Q: Also there are two issues right now. One is Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill being stuck in the Parliament and on the other hand violation of emission norms which is currently being discussed and seen as a big issue. So, first let us go to the GST bill. If it is implemented what kind of an impact will it have on the Volvo Truck business?
A: As far as Volvo Truck is concerned we are very much welcoming the GST to be implemented because mainly it will drive ease of doing business, ease of transportation of goods across the country and it will request from our customer more efficient trucks, more performance trucks that we are very eager to sell. So, if GST is implemented the flow of goods will be more important.
So, the customer will look for more modern, more professional solution that we can make available in India and if I can reflect on to the big rival of India that is China, in China right now we are having a unique leadership position being a foreign brand into the goods transported from the internet economy. So, it means that the technological shift happens with favourable ecosystem. So, the moment GST will happen then we will capture the opportunity. So, we are very eager to have it happening.
If I reflect on the emission norms, we are very much welcoming that. Why? Because we are ready. If you look at Volvo trucks over some countries we are already Euro VI compliant so we can make this technology available in the country anytime soon.
We would very much welcome as well some initiative that we have seen in some countries where if you anticipate the trucks to be at the Euro VI norm you will get some tax incentives and that will force the industry to accelerate the change.
Q: Is there any particular area where you need some sort of clarity from the government on the regulatory front?
A: If I reflect on Modi administration for a year, it is extremely good. It has set the direction, set the ambition for India, for the people, for the world community. I think he is the first Prime Minister you have who is so active on the international scene. So, it is good.
I have been playing rugby for 25 years and in rugby you score tries but the most important is not to score tries, it is to transform the tries. I think today the business community is very eager to see all what has been declared, implemented.