On his visit to the Tokyo Motor Show 2017, Christian Levin, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing at Scania Group, discussed the company’s strategy to support its quest for growth in Asia, and outlined the opportunities for driving the shift towards sustainable transport systems in the region.
Scania’s presence in Asia is of increasing importance to the company. In fact, says Christian Levin, “this is the place in the world where we need to succeed.” Asia has been pinpointed in Scania’s 2020 strategy for growth.
“We have a good foothold in Europe and Latin America,” he says, “but we are kind of missing our ‘third leg’, and that needs to be here in Asia.”
Levin notes that the region is characterised by some interesting trends, including a young population, a well-educated, growing middle class and a focus on sustainability.
For Scania to ensure optimal growth and become a significant player in the region, Levin says, it must adjust its strategy to the specific demands of the Asian markets. Amongst the operational challenges he lists trade barriers, varying legal frameworks and lengthy lead times arising from all shipments being made out of Europe.
Scania services and dealers
There is also a pressing need to grow Scania’s network of dealers and workshops in Asia, he says. He points to China as an example. “There are three drivers – the vehicle never stops,” he says. “That puts significant demands on services.”
Even though local needs must define the products and services on offer in Asia, Levin says that driving the shift towards sustainable transport systems is no different from anywhere else in the world. The considerations are universal, he says, citing infrastructure and the availability of fuels, the incentives created by policy makers to help Scania to push this shift and the maturity of the customers to address those issues.
Similarly, as with everywhere else in the world, Scania is making effort to establish valuable long-term partnerships based on trust with dealers, workshops, bodybuilders and connectivity and logistics experts.
While Scania’s growth in Asia is 50 percent higher this year than ever before, it’s uneven, Levin says. There are some markets where we have up to 20 percent market share, while in others we have less than 1 percent.
“I hope that in five years’ time, our position will be as good as it is in Latin America,” Levin says. “I hope to see volumes of around 20,000 trucks and around 3,000 buses a year. I think that is possible.”