Deflated auto cos turn to local talent to woo Indian market

Feb 21 2013, 09:48 IST
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SummaryWith car sales in the negative, the auto industry is trying every trick in the book to get back on track.

on Indian mid-level managers to guide its business. It has already replaced two Korean zonal sales heads with Indians and plans to completely put Indians as department and group heads by 2014. Tata Motors, whose domestic passenger car business has been in the doldrums for a while, has undertaken an extensive management reshuffle. Karl Slym, instrumental in steering GM in India when the parent faced bankruptcy in the US, has joined as Tata Motors MD, while Ranjit Yadav from Samsung India has taken over as the head of the passenger car business. With plans to revitalise its portfolio with new models such as a compact SUV and and a new hatchback, Neeraj Garg from Volkswagen India has also been appointed as vice-president (commercial). Garg has previously worked at Nissan and Honda in India. It has also roped in Ashesh Dhar to head the utility vehicle business, who was previously with Indian SUV king Mahindra. With the management overhaul, Tata Motors aims to become the second-largest passenger vehicle maker in the country in the next two-three years, up from its fourth position today.

General Motors has also shuffled its cadre. With the appointment of Maruti Suzuki veteran Rajesh Singh as vice-president for marketing, servicing and sales, the company hopes to make a significant mark in smaller towns and cities with its new mass segment hatchback, sedan and MPV models. Most global carmakers, some of whom have had a local presence for a decade and half, have seen losses accumulate over the years as investments failed to generate adequate returns and competition with incumbents such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai intensified. Ford has among the highest accumulated losses in the industry at Rs 1,343 crore, while Skoda saw losses of over Rs 45 crore in FY11 and FY12, according to Registrar of Companies data.

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