Tell us about the Prima truck that Tata Motors has lauched recently. How is the business looking in India?
The road infrastructure, the types of trucks we use, have still not evolved to the level where I think it will. In a way we are getting a scope to experiment with future technology, which we may not be able to do with mainstream trucks. Already there are many similarities with the trucks we raise and the trucks which we export abroad. For instance, the 380 horsepower engine, very little sales in India, but almost every Prima truck sold abroad is with a 380 horsepower engine.
There is a big thrust coming for light-weighting, whereas in India the push was much more on beast of burden overload capability. Overseas, they go to peak speeds of 130-140 km/h, which is what the race truck does. In many ways the racing technology which our engineers are putting is helping us immediately for export business. Also, these are things which will come to India.
Three years later, I do believe that the infrastructure is improving, the government is spending a lot of money on infrastructure, the express ways will enable faster turnaround and light-weighting becoming important because the overload regime is going away, rated load and payloads are being controlled so no doubt in terms of the technology it is helping us.
Brand, I think is a big plus. We have been selling Tata trucks, so Tata became a truck for everybody but we wanted to create a brand for hi-tech or performance oriented technology, we created Prima. So Prima is about hi-tech and high performance. Race is the ultimate, racing truck is the ultimate in performance and technology.
I think it fits very well and the brand is not just for the general public. It is for customers and the drivers, and I think we have a big hit with them. This year, the Indian drivers are drawn from the Indian truck customer community. They have nominated their best drivers. I think there is a huge connect to both brand, the customer, as well as technology.
At this point of time, you do a Prima trucks and all the other drivers racing. Will you be going ahead and looking to involve other truck makers in this?
Maybe, because that is something which happens worldwide. Just adding India to the circuit, so that something which can happen any time but given that we have done all the hard work with the FII and FMSCI, we believe that there is still a very big population in India which is not exposed to this. Currently, we are doing this. We have British race standards, which are the people who are consulting with us. They are certifying that we are producing consistent reliable world class trucks. But at a point in time it may open up. We do not know.