In the next six months, demand for equipment will pick up

January 2015
- Ramesh Palagiri, Managing Director & CEO, Wirtgen India

The Wirtgen Group includes four well-known brands: Wirtgen, Vögele,, Hamm and Kleemann. Wirtgen India Pvt Ltd offers a complete range of machines for road building, from crushing, screening, mixing, paving and compaction to repairing roads with milling and recycling. Ramesh Palagiri, Managing Director & CEO, Wirtgen India, and Frank G Betzelt, General Manager, Sales & Service Subsidiaries, Wirtgen Group Holding GmbH, speak to SHRIYAL SETHUMADHAVAN.

How is the current construction industry scenario?
The road sector scenario is improving. With most projects being awarded on EPC, which implies a completion period of two years, procuring will be done faster. In the next six months, demand for equipment will pick up.

What are the challenges you face in India?
As a European company, we had to learn the customers´ need in India and introduce a complete range of products for the market. We have made large investments in Pune to set up a complete production facility for rollers for the Indian market.

Are your offerings manufactured in India?
It makes sense to produce some of the products in India - like rollers and small pavers - as we do not have the adequate volume. But we can always fill requirements with products from Germany, if required.

How are products customised for the Indian market?
Betzelt: We collate inputs from local engineers and local product management and work closely with engineers in Germany. Despite customisation, we aim for highest quality in every country.

By 2017-18, how do you see Wirtgen´s growth in India?
The group company is growing faster than Wirtgen India, which is a challenge. The group touched 2 billion this year, and we expect the turnover to increase much faster, around 15 per cent. In India, we aim to reach 5-10 per cent in 2017.