‘Frugal engineering is India’s strength’

by Dave

Business-The Times of India

In an interview to the TOI, the current poster boy of the global car industry, Renault’s CEO Carlos Ghosn and M&M’s charismatic managing director Anand Mahindra exuded an optimism that may well set the future for joint ventures in India’s fast growing automobile business.

And the no-nonsense, tough speaking Ghosn who has worked in the world’s three largest car markets__US, Europe and Japan was clearly in awe of Indian engineering. Why? Because they managed to shave 15% off the Logan’s production costs.

This is the kind of number that has Ghosn drooling. When the car was first thought up at Renault’s headquarters, it was meant to be a no-frills car that had to be built with as little resources as possible. Ghosn thought his company had done a pretty good job with it.

“But there is a thirst for learning here [in India] and that makes the Indian engineer innovate and create a product frugally. Engineers in other parts of the world always need more resources to do the same thing,” he said.

So is there a lesson in what he has seen for global automobile companies? “Yes,” says Ghosn. “They will have to show the humility to come into this country and learn. It isn’t possible to demonstrate such innovation when you work out of markets where resources are not at a premium,” he adds.

Suprised at lessons he’s learnt in India, Ghosn’s infatuation with frugality occupied most of the conversation. “Sure, capital costs are huge issue in this business. But we are discovering through our partnership with M&M that the level of investment for a specific objective can be done frugally.”