Real-time Stock quotes, portfolio, LIVE TV and more.
Mar 20, 2012, 06.38 PM IST
Acclaimed for designing the Aston Martin DB8 for the James Bond film franchise and designing a bus for Shah Rukh Khan, among many others, Dilip Chhabria speaks on success.
With the finances in place, Chhabria adopted a unique marketing strategy to showcase his talent. When I started DC Design in 1993, I realized it would be difficult to get me contracts. But I did manage a 2-year assured contract from Mahindra and Mahindra, for whom I had designed the Armada in 1992, he says.
So DC (as he is popularly known) bought a Maruti Gypsy for Rs. 1.5 lakh, redesigned it for Rs. 2.5 lakh, and drove it around the city. Later, he sold it for Rs. 6 lakh, earning double his investment and raising plenty of curiosity. I figured that customization was the key, he says. People wanted unique products, but car manufacturers could not deliver on this aspect. I realized that by marrying my talent with the low-cost manpower available in India, I could create international standard products at very competitive rates.
It also helped that he was in a niche segment, especially with regards to pricing. A customization job costs at least as much as the vehicle itself, Chhabria explains. Individual customers contribute as much to revenues as business-to-business deliveries. This has helped our revenues grow at 20 to 30 percent year on year, with fewer clients to optimize better value for each product. Chhabria also admits to having invested irrationally in motor shows across the globe since 1996. In the automotive industry, it takes at least 25 years to build a brand. By participating in these events, where Indian car manufacturers have just about started displaying their products, we managed to build a great brandeven at the cost of a broke balance sheet. You need to build concept cars simply to amaze the masses, he says. As for advertising, DCs mantra is simple: If you have something to flaunt, do so. But dont tarnish your credibility by showing off an inferior product.
Projects are chosen strategically, too. Sometimes, developing a Rs. 15 lakh product is more important in terms of brand building than a Rs. 4 crore-project on a bus, which has limited visibility. Set your sights on the long term. Only then can one make an international brand, Chhabria advises. If I had not left General Motors in the early 80s and started my own concern, I would have coasted along anonymously.
The auto designers trick to ensuring constant innovation is to promise more each time: There is a life-and-death situation at work everyday. We take on work weve never done, and we force ourselves to deliver. This creates huge brand value, helping us to deliver superior products. Another way to be on
In DC Design, Chhabria has created an enterprise that leverages its niche status with creativity and unyielding drive. He compares it to a beast that must be constantly fed to grow. Your credibility is more the measure of success than money, he says. When your name is at stake, you will be forced to succeed.
Entrepreneur October 2009
Jun 18 2013, 22:39
- in MARKET OUTLOOK
Jun 18 2013, 22:39
- in Business