German company Liebherr group, which is a premium manufacturer of refrigeration and cooling appliances for both domestic and commercial sectors has invested Rs 500 crore to set up manufacturing unit in Aurangabad, India and set to roll out its new line of refrigerators in May this year targeting mass premium segment, a top company official said this today.
According to ETRetail, Liebherr is in talks with organised retailers such as Croma, Reliance Retail, Vijay Sales and with a few local organised players too in India and said initially it will not be looking at online retailing channels as the target market is mass premium segment. As per the company, it is focused in authorized and well trained distribution partners and not every potential retailer is going to have access to the brand.
The company which made a turnover of 9 billion Euros in the year 2016 will produce 19 different models with different colors, features talking about direct cooler product segment and also top mounted products in 2018. In 2019, it will add around 22 models and 20 additional models for wide range of refrigerator availability in the next 3 years.
The company’s managing director-sales, Steffen Nagel who was in India recently said the total production capacity is around 500,000 units. The production would begin in May 2018 and then further increase the employee strength to 1000 in the long term.
The opportunity galore that Indian market proposes makes the group confident about success in this country. The country’s rising household income, improving living standards along with product penetration for cooling appliances which is around 35% as per Nagel is a good pace to be successful.
“If you compare Whirlpool and Godrej products with our country brands, the option here is very limited and that is why we strongly believe that a brand like Liebherr could be an alternative for both end user and the distribution partners for the trade to have more variety, to give more choice to the Indian customers,” said Nagel.
“Our division was founded in 1954 by Hans Liebherr in Germany, which means we have more than 60 years of experience in refrigeration. We now have 4 factories (3 in Europe, 1 in Malaysia) and sell more than 2.2 million appliances in a year. We are active in more than 90 countries with international experience, but I have to admit India is different in a positive way. I personally have a learning curve of changing the perspective from manufacturer to the end user,” Nagel said.
The group also evaluated other countries including Europe, Brazil, China and Russia before finalizing India launch.
The Liebherr group employs 44,000 employees and is a decentralized group with 11 different divisions and its Domestic Appliances represents about 10% of the revenue of this company.