30-Aug-CI-Tue-1The big-wigs who have shaped (and continue to shape) India’s burgeoning four-wheeler industry

Compiled By:Gasha Aeri, Piyush Sonsale, Ravi Chandnani and Saeed Akhtar

Head, Audi India

AUDI INDIA HAVE BEEN ON an upswing under the leadership of Michael Perschke. The 43-year-old German came over in July 2010 as the Head of Audi India. After the recent launch of the RS5 (flip over to page 126 for a full road test) the company recorded an impressive 75.11 per cent growth. In October 2010 the company posted a record growth of 208 per cent.

Having completed international education in business administration and economics in Germany and the UK, Michael Perschke has had experience in different parts of Europe and Asia. This is not his first job in India. Between 1997 and 2000, he was the general manager of Mercedes-Benz India.  In 2004, he switched to the Volkswagen Group in Germany only to proceed to Audi in 2008.

Audi began their all-India operations in early 2007 and soon carved a niche for themselves in the luxury sedan and SUV segments. Since then the company has added the A4, A6 and A8 to the sedan line-up. The Q5 and Q7 in the SUV segment, along with the TT, R8 and the fresh RS5 complete Audi’s portfolio here.

Perschke has successfully added three new showrooms to the earlier nine across the country. All we want to say is, “Bravo, Herr Perschke!”

President, BMW India

DR ANDREAS SCHAAF TOOK OVER as the president of BMW India in March last year. This was preceded by his stint in Korea where he was the vice-president (sales and marketing). Prior to that, he had held several senior positions in the company.

Armed with a degree in business administration, Dr Schaaf went on to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Bayreuth in Germany. He later served in the German army for a year, which was followed by jobs in a few companies. His association with BMW AG began in 1996 when he started working in the department of product control. Since then, Dr Schaaf has moved up the corporate ladder by the dint of his hard work. He has been the head of market development and also the head of product portfolio management.

During his year-and-a-half at BMW India, Dr Schaaf has launched the new 5 series, the X1 and the 650i. On the dealership front, he has discarded the top down approach and adopted a more passion-driven formula to choose his dealers. With ventures like the used car business and factory expansion plans in Chennai round the corner, Dr Schaaf has secured BMW’s future in the highly competitive luxury car market.

President and CEO, Fiat India Automobiles Ltd

RAJEEV KAPOOR’S SUCCESS story began in 1976 when he graduated from the Regional College of Engineering, Kurukshetra, as a mechanical engineer. Thereafter he has held many positions, each more challenging than the previous. Having held senior posts at ISGEC, Talbros Automotive and Gillette India, he moved to Hero Honda in 2001. During his time at Hero Honda, he was the GM and plant head of the Dharuhera facility. In 2005 he was promoted as VP and plant head.

In November of 2007 Fiat India moved all their operations from Kurla in suburban Mumbai to the Ranjangaon facility near Pune. The 200-acre plant was initially run by De Filippis Giovanni, who was later succeeded by Rajeev Kapoor. From there on, he has steered the Italian car company through a series of product launches and facelifts. Some of the recent high points include the Grande Punto variant expansion, the phenomenal 82 per cent sales growth in May last year followed by the launch of the Linea T-Jet in October.

The future looks even better with plans of an India-specific car being developed at FIAT’s R&D centre in Turin, Italy.

MD, Force Motors Ltd

PRASAN FIRODIA IS A YOUNG and dynamic leader who has been brought up in a family closely associated with the automotive industry. He is the son of the late N K Firodia, who was responsible for founding what we today know as Force Motors. Prasan Firodia took over as the company’s managing director in 2009 and is looking forward to taking the company to new heights. In just two years he has already planned the company’s strategy for the future.

Force Motors are currently active in the commercial vehicle market. Soon they will enter the personal transport segment with the launch first of a new SUV and an MPV later on.  Prasan Firodia is the driving force behind this. Firodia, who is a management graduate, is also in charge of Jaya Hind Industries Pvt Ltd and is the director of MAN Force Trucks Pvt Ltd. Under his leadership Jaya Hind Industries have won the award for ‘Best Foundry – Large Sector’ for two consecutive years. Firodia is also the president of the Indian Aluminium Die Casters’ Association and is on the executive committee of ACMA. He is the chairman of an IMTMA committee and a member of the executive committee of SIAM.

President and MD, Ford India

WITH MORE THAN 20 YEARS of comprehensive experience, Michael Boneham has been heading Ford India since June 2008. Within Ford, he has held a number of senior positions in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Australia. Within less than a month after his appointment as the president and MD, Boneham launched the revamped Fiesta which was followed by the refreshed Ikon. In the small car segment, where Ford had no presence, Boneham launched the Ford Figo, the resounding success of which was seen earlier this month when the car crossed the one lakh mark. Not just that, the Figo has bagged over 20 awards since its launch in September 2010.

On the sales front, Ford have consistently posted growth figures, which have been backed by their ever-growing dealer network.

Boneham’s approach to the Indian market has been to try and understand the different aspects of the Indian psyche and tailor products accordingly. A peek into the future suggests the launch of a new Fiesta, which will be available in three variants.

With Boneham at the helm, Ford certainly have a bright future.

30-Aug-CI-Tue-8KARL SLYM
President and MD, General Motors India

BORN ON FEBRUARY 9, 1962, in Derby, England, Karl Slym worked for Toyota before joining General Motors in 1995. Since then he has climbed up the corporate ladder at a brisk pace. Starting out as a manufacturing adviser at the Opel Eisenach operation in Germany, he later became the assembly manager at the same plant. In 1997 he was appointed as the director of manufacturing at the new Opel Polska plant in Poland.

Slym was vice-president (quality) for GM Asia Pacific and GM Daewoo Automotive and Technology in South Korea before stepping in as the president and MD, GM India, in October 2007.

Under his leadership, the company entered into a JV with the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp, which will result in two new light commercial vehicles.

Ambitious plans of doubling and tripling the growth rate is the foremost priority for Slym. Buoyed by the spectacular success of the Spark and Beat, he launched a CNG version of the Aveo earlier this year and the very aggressively priced Beat diesel.

A busy launch calendar is the highlight of the GM planner for the next year or so. With six new models and 14 new variants in the offing, Slym is poised to lead GM India to a very bright future.

30-Aug-CI-Tue-9MANOJ JHA
MD, Hindustan Motors

WITH OVER SEVEN DECADES of market presence, Hindustan Motors are pre-Adamites, so to say, in the Indian automotive sector. They are also the only car company in the eastern part of the country. To lead a company built on the foundations of safety, reliability and quality, they have appointed an able man for the job. Manoj Jha is a production engineer by training, an automotive veteran with over two-and-a-half decades of varied experience and the MD of HM.

Jha’s impressive portfolio includes his stints with Tata Motors, Eicher Motors, the Minda Group and Escorts Group. In less than six months of appointment, he inaugurated the HM pavilion at the Auto Show East in November last year. This event was marked by HM proudly showcasing a host of passenger and commercial vehicles. In conformity with the company’s credo of ‘authentic, timeless and simple’, Jha has proposed plans for a revamped Ambassador. The upgrades will be aimed at competing with the big players in the market. Although the company has seen its share of tough times over the past few years, it seems that HM have pulled up their socks and are ready to hit the road with renewed zest.

President and CEO,
Honda Siel Cars Ltd and Honda Motor India Pvt Ltd

TAKASHI NAGAI, WHO HAS been associated with Honda for almost three decades now and who has held a number of senior positions during this time, is the fourth president of the company.

He started out at the Hamamatsu plant in Japan in the production control department. In 2003 he went to Mexico as the director of Honda de Mexico, S A de C V. Later, in 2006, he became the GM (Overseas Operations Office No 1) of Honda Motor Co Ltd, looking after North America, South America and Europe. Before coming to India in April last year as the president and CEO, Nagai san was the VP, Asian Honda Motor Co, Thailand.

During his tenure in India Nagai san has raised Honda standards to newer levels. This he has done by completing a series of tasks such as the expansion of the Tapukara powertrain plant, launch of the ‘X’ variant of the Jazz and a record sale of 13,003 units last Diwali. Earlier this year, Honda also capped the new Civic with a sunroof. What could be the game-changer for the Japanese giant is the much anticipated launch of their mini hatch, the Brio, scheduled for later this year. Apart from several changes, Honda have posted healthy sales figures for quite some time. That’s the way it’s going to be with Nagai san at the helm.

30-Aug-CI-Tue-11HAN WOO PARK
MD  and CEO, Hyundai Motors India

ARMED WITH A DEGREE IN business administration from the University of Dankook in Seoul, South Korea, Park joined Hyundai in 1982. He has been associated with the costing, auditing and financial operations of the Korean car manufacturer.

Of his 29 years at Hyundai, Park has spent the last eight holding the Hyundai flag high in India. During his tenure the company has risen to the position of being the second largest manufacturer in the country. This he has done with immense hard work and determination. Under his leadership the company has consistently maintained a northward sales graph. In the recent past Park launched the upgraded Verna. Earlier, in January this year, the company registered the highest sales ever. This has been due to Hyundai’s vast dealer network, the latest proof being the inauguration of their 300th dealership in November last year.

Park has promised up to three new car launches every year for the next three years. An investment plan of up to Rs 4,000 crore is being mulled by the company under Park’s leadership. And that ensures Park a place in our Power Personalities for a long time to come.

Executive Director, ICML

IT TAKES A LOT OF COURAGE and business acumen for a tractor manufacturer to even attempt to penetrate the highly competitive car market in India. The Sonalika Group, a Rs 5,000 crore conglomerate with varied interests ranging from agricultural implements, generator sets, auto finance and automotive components, is an example at hand. At its helm is young Raman Mittal, grandson of Sonalika Chairman L D Mittal. With his appointment as the executive director of International Tractors Ltd, now the flagship company of the Sonalika Group, Raman Mittal has taken the challenge to carve an entirely new niche in the Indian automotive market.

The newly formed company tied up with MG Rover, UK, who provided the requisite technical know-how, and launched their first offering, the Rhino multi-utility vehicle. Raman Mittal, fresh out of an engineering college, was there right from the developmental stages of the Rhino, working on its interior and generally ensuring that production quality was up to international standards.

Mittal has been at the helm of one of India’s youngest automotive companies for three years now and he is bullish about the future. ICML have now tied up with world famous styling house Pininfarina for an absolutely new world car, which will be built on an all-new platform soon. It is on account of all these that Raman Mittal makes his début in Car India’s Power Personalities this year.

Vice-Chairman and MD,
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd

MAHINDRA AND MAHINDRA have many firsts to their credit this year – from making a début in aviation, being the first Indian group to have a racing team in world motorcycle racing to revamping their iconic off-roader in its latest and rather trendy avatar as the Thar. M&M, under the able leadership of Anand Mahindra, have spread their network throughout the world.

The third-generation scion of M&M, Anand Mahindra majored in film-making and photography before securing an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He then set out for a career in the M&M group. He came into his own when he joined the conglomerate’s flagship tractor production division in 1991.

Dubbed the ‘Renaissance Man’ by the Harvard Business Review, Mahindra has earned recognition for turning the conservative utility vehicle manufacturing outfit he inherited into a global powerhouse with presence in several continents.

Mahindra has been honoured with the Qimpro Platinum Standard (Business) 2008 Award, Business India’s Businessman of the Year 2007 Award and the Businessworld FICCI-SEDF Corporate Social Responsibility Award, in addition to several accolades over the years. Under his stewardship, the company has shown a continuous growth and is currently the market leader in India’s utility vehicle segment. We wish Anand Mahindra the very best for his future plans.

MD and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd

IT ISN’T EASY TO BE THE leader in the small car segment in the Indian market and defend the title for such a long time, but Maruti Suzuki have done it ably and well. As the patriarch of the large Maruti Suzuki family, Shinzo Nakanishi has a major role to play in the company’s success.

Nakanishi san started his career with Suzuki in 1983-84 when he was a member of the initial team that set up the venture in association with the Indian government, Maruti Udyog Ltd. That venture, now known as Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), currently accounts for half the cars sold in India alone.

Nakanishi san played a critical role in the company’s divestment and has been the company’s non-executive chairman since 2002. After taking over the reins of the sales of the largest car-maker in the country in 2007, he has maintained MSIL’s domination in the overcrowded Indian market. He put into action Suzuki Motor Corporation’s promise of making India a global small car hub with mega investment in manufacturing, R&D and design. He boosted the company’s compact car line-up with the introduction of MSIL’s world strategic models – the A-Star, Swift, Ritz, new WagonR, new Zen Estilo and the new Alto K10, equipped with the next generation K-series engines.

The 61-year-old honcho also initiated work on Maruti’s hybrid vehicles that were demonstrated at the Auto Expo 2010, including the R III, and recently launched the Kizashi.

Under Nakanishi san, MSIL have maintained their identity and profitability as a small car maker while continuing to expand their portfolio with a strong presence in other segments as well.

MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India

WITH OTHER GERMANS AND the Swedish throwing their hats in the ring, it becomes a little difficult to keep the three-point star shining, but Mercedes-Benz have always been in safe hands. After Dr Aulbur, Peter Honegg joined the Mercedes-Benz India family on January 17, 2011. He possesses considerable international experience and extensive business exposure of leading a large variety of functions within the Daimler world. He brings more than 30 years of rich and diverse experience to Mercedes-Benz India.

Honegg joined the company in 1976 and has occupied leadership positions in areas related to strategic planning, marketing, network management, business development and sales across markets like Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia, eastern Europe and Iran as well as South East Asia and China.

Born in Tuebingen, Germany, on November 1, 1955, Honegg holds a diploma in business administration from Berufsakademie, Stuttgart. An avid classic car and motorbike enthusiast, Honegg’s interests also include wine-making, reading and travelling.

With an offering in every segment, the company stands strong to face the competition in the luxury car market. Apart from catering to the high-end market, the company also caters to the customers looking for a budget-bound luxury car with the executive edition C-Class. A company, they say, is as good as the people who run it. With Honegg at the top now, Mercedes-Benz are second to none.

MD and CEO, Nissan India

KIMINOBU TOKUYAMA WAS appointed MD & CEO of Nissan’s Indian subsidiary in 2009. Tokuyama san is a law graduate from the Keio University in Japan. He joined Nissan in 1978 and has handled various responsibilities in the Middle East, North America and Europe. Before coming to India, Tokuyama san was the MD of Renault, Japan. Since his arrival, Nissan have launched four models in India – the X-Trail SUV, the Teana luxury sedan, the 370Z sports car and the Micra hatchback. Nissan inaugurated  their first production plant in India at Oragadam, near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, at an investment of Rs 4,500 crore in March 2010, which started production by May 23. The plant is the first dedicated manufacturing plant of the Renault-Nissan alliance and is a global production and export hub for Nissan. The full production capacity of the plant is four lakh units per annum. Currently the Micra hatchback is being produced in India and has already crossed the 1,00,000 unit mark, of which 70,000 units were exported to Europe.

Along with this huge set-up, Nissan are also focusing on product quality, which, Tokuyama san believes, is one of the fundamentals of Nissan globally. In August last year, the plant received an ISO certification for quality. In November, Nissan inaugurated a Field Quality Centre (FQC) at the plant, which is a training centre for the technicians working at the Nissan dealerships in India.

Nissan are also expanding their dealership network in India rapidly with an aim of 100 dealerships by 2013. Before that they want to expand their product line-up to nine models to cover 85 per cent of the segments in the Indian automobile market. “We are very serious and committed about our plans for India,” says Tokuyama san, which is evident from the way Nissan are expanding in India under his leadership.

MD Renault India and Director CEO,
Renault Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd

RENAULT ARE A FRENCH automobile makers with a long history and a great heritage in motor sport. Renault entered the Indian market in a joint venture with Mahindra and Mahindra for the Logan brand. Last year, Renault, along with their partners, Nissan, set up a Rs 4,500-crore manufacturing plant near Chennai, which has a production capacity of four lakh units per annum. Now Renault have established a wholly owned subsidiary of their French parent and have even launched their first product, the Fluence.

The Indian subsidiary of Renault is led by Marc Nassif, a French national. He completed his engineering studies at the Institut Catholique d’Arts et Métiers, France, in 1984. He obtained an MBA from Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales, France, a year later. Nassif started out as an engineer trainee at Renault/AMC/Jeep in the US in 1984. In 1985, he became a powertrain engineer at  Renault Mexico. He  underwent Renault’s executive training programme in 1989 and again in 2007. In between, he also did an executive management programme from the Stanford University in the US in 2004. Nassif is fluent in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Since 2005, Nassif has handled various managerial responsibilities at Renault’s operations in France, Spain and Brazil. In 2008, he was appointed the director CEO of Renault-Nissan Automotive India Pvt Ltd  and was posted in Chennai. In 2009 he became the MD of Renault India. Nassif has been instrumental in conducting negotiations with the Tamil Nadu government for the Oragadam plant. We welcome him to India and wish him the best.

Board Member (Sales and Marketing),
Skoda Auto India

THOMAS KUEHL HAS BEEN leading the Indian operations of Skoda for over two-and-a-half years now. A degree-holder in economics, Kuehl has attended senior management programmes at the Columbia University, New York. He has also worked as a consultant to Arthur Anderson in different organisational development programmes in the automotive industry.

Kuehl joined Skoda’s parent company, Volkswagen, in 1995 and worked in various capacities, including those of leader of the central spare parts logistics unit (ETZ) in Kassel, Germany, and head of product marketing and strategy, Volkswagen, Mexico. He was the VW head of sales in northern Europe with responsibility for operations in Scandinavia and the Baltic states.

Kuehl is keenly interested in the culture of India and loves its countryside and cuisine. A soccer-lover and a former trained car racer, he believes that no problem is too big to defy resolution. Perhaps, that is why Skoda cars have earned a reputation for great value for money as well as excellent fuel efficiency despite tough competition.

Skoda stopped the production of their high selling Octavia notchback last year and launched two new models in India: the revamped Fabia premium hatchback and the Yeti SUV, both of which have received a good response. Since then, Skoda have been registering a steady rise in their monthly sales. In May this year, they announced a cent per cent increase in sales over the same period last month! All eyes are now on the sub Laura sedan/notchback that will replace the Octavia.

Chairman, Tata Motors Ltd

RATAN TATA IS AN ICON, NOT JUST in India but globally, too. He is the chairman of Tata Sons and hence the companies under the Tata Group, the biggest conglomerate of the country. During his tenure as the chairman, the erstwhile TELCO transformed into Tata Motors of today, an automaker of the modern India. Ratan Tata has a passion for cars. He is known to sit in every car during the design phase to examine the ergonomics and passenger comfort. No wonder the cars he makes are so spacious. Tata Motors now have an indigenous product line-up ranging from a micro hatch to a high end MUV while in the premium segment they have the world class Jaguar and Land Rover brands under their ownership. All of these have been the dream projects of Tata himself, which he monitored in detail. What makes him a Power Personality, however, is that in spite of the hurdles he faced in the acquisition of the two British auto brands and the opposition faced in West Bengal for the Nano production plant, the world’s cheapest car, Tata made everything work, and how!

Last year, Tata launched the Aria MUV, its biggest automobile yet, featuring technologies seen in high-end cars. Soon Tata Motors will also launch a diesel variant of the Nano. Along with it, work is also on to develop hybrid and electric drives for the Nano and the Indica.

Forbes magazine has ranked Tata among the 25 most powerful businessmen in the world. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008. In 2009, the British government bestowed upon him the honour of Knight Commander.

Success has just been a way of life for this 74-year-old bachelor. Tata is known for his humility and dignified demeanour. His employees swear by him for his employee-friendly policies, while India is grateful to him for making personal transport affordable.

MD, Toyota Kirloskar Motor

HIROSHI NAKAGAWA, Managing Director of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Limited, joined the Indian arm of the Japanese company in 2008. However, he has been associated with the brand for the past 31 years.

Nakagawa san’s innings in the automotive world started even before that. In 1977 he became a part of Toyota and was made the vice-president of Toyota Motor workers’ union. At the same time he was also involved in production, manufacturing and industrial policy development.

Through the years Nakagawa san has worked in various positions in the company that include production, product support and planning, sales and marketing, new product development and human resource. His major achievements include his appointment as the executive managing coordinator at Toyota Motor Thailand. His next major role came in 2006 when he was appointed as the general manager (plant administration) at Toyota’s Tsutsumi plant in Japan.

Nakagawa san holds a degree in politics and economics from the MEIJI University, Tokyo. His hobbies include mountain biking and he was also the president of federation of the sports clubs during his college days. Under his leadership the Toyota brand in India has seen success and, with the recent launch of the Toyota Etios and Etios Liva, he hopes to take the company to new heights in the Indian market.

Volkswagen Group Chief Representative, India

DR JOHN CHACKO TOOK charge of Volkswagen India in December 2010, but his association with the company is decades old. In 1978 Dr Chacko joined Audi AG as an engineer in logistics planning and went on to become the head of department and director of Audi’s logistics operations.

Dr Chacko, who is an engineer, later changed to Audi AG Manufacturing Engineering Division, where he headed the in-sourcing and overseas production department. He has also headed Seat SA as director of manufacturing engineering, where he undertook the task of integrating the Seat brand into the VW family and bringing it up to the engineering and production standards of VW. In 2000 he returned to Audi AG as the director of manufacturing engineering division and headed it for six years. In 2006 VW started the project India in which Dr Chacko played a pivotal role and was also involved in the decision making process. With the launch of the VW brand in India he was made the technical managing director of the group’s Indian operations.

In 2010 he added another feather to his cap by becoming the new Volkswagen group chief representative India and president and MD, Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd. Under his leadership the company is looking forward to yet another great year of achievements.

MD, Volvo Auto India

TOMAS ERNBERG IS THE NEW man leading the Indian arm of the Swedish company Volvo, having taken over as the managing director from Paul de Voijs, who had a successful stint in India since the introduction of the company in the country. Ernberg, like de Voijs, has been associated with Volvo for a long time – almost 17 years. He has worked in various markets round the world and understands their needs. He joined Volvo in 1994 as tourist and diplomat sales manager in Turkey. After that he worked in various departments, including network, marketing and sales. In 2008 he was appointed as the regional managing director, based in Dubai, from where he was able to manage 13 markets in the Middle East and North Africa. Ernberg has travelled all over the world and is fluent in Swedish, English, Turkish, Spanish and a few Arabic languages as well.

A Swede born in Spain, he has lived in many countries, including Nigeria, Argentina, Malaysia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. He likes to play tennis in his free time and loves to discover the outdoors whenever his busy schedule permits him to do so.


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