Foreign automakers in India seem to have reached a conclusion after expat chiefs have not made the impact required to push sales in the country. Ford, Audi, BMW, are looking for local talent to lead their operations in India.
India's automobile market is highly competitive and price sensitive requiring local talents to turn the fortunes of the foreign automakers. Close to five global carmakers have announced or are in the process of naming Indians or Indian-origin executives to lead the charge in the country.
German luxury carmaker, Audi AG recently named NRI Rahil Ansari as head of its India arm effective February 1, he succeeds Australian Joe King after a three-year stint. Barring VW, all other brands of the Volkswagen Group -- Porsche, Lamborghini, Skoda and Ducati -- are being led by Indians.
Recently, Renault too announced Sumit Sawhney to lead its India operations. Sumit Sawhney has an MBA from IMS-Indore and he is a veteran from General Motors who led the company as a CEO of its India subsidiary. He took over from Marc Nassif, an Egypt-born, who led the company from 2008-14.
US bike maker, Harley-Davidson have announced that Vikram Pawah has exited the company as the Managing Director. Insiders feel he is heading to lead BMW's four-wheeler and two-wheeler business in India.
The move to bring Vikram Pawah comes at the right time for BMW as the German company will start operations of its two-wheeler business, BMW Motorrad. BMW Motorrad will begin sales by the end of 2017 by launching the BMW G 310R.
BMW in India has slipped to the third position in the luxury cars segment and the move to bring Vikram is seen as a move to help steer sales for the company.
Sources from the industry said that companies like Ford are scouting for local talent after Nigel Harris moved to China in June 2016. Currently, Anurag Mehrotra is helming the role of leading the business in India before the company finds a local talent to lead the company in India.
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