Electrolux Kelvinator Ltd, a unit of AB Electrolux of Sweden, is ready to storm the market with India’s first split air conditioner (AC) priced below Rs 10,000. The ACs will be brought in from its factories in China.
Voltas, the consumer durables arm of the Tata Group, had created a stir recently when it launched a window AC priced at Rs 9,990. Its market share increased substantially following the launch of the 0.6 tonne Vertis model to 10.9 per cent in 2003. At present, Electrolux’s cheapest split AC is a 0.75 tonne model that goes for Rs 12,990.
Electrolux Kelvinator’s product head for ACs, Mr Ashish Bhatnagar, said split ACs are becoming more popular because they are easier to install.
Window ACs are single, compact units that are mounted in windows or holes in the wall. Unbranded local models have a large chunk of this market. In a split AC, the condenser and compressor are mounted separately, thereby reducing noise levels sharply.
Electrolux has drawn up extensive plans to focus on the Indian market with split ACs although it will have a presence in window ACs as well.
According to Mr Bhatnagar, Electrolux will bring the sub Rs 10,000 split ACs from either of its two plants located at Shanghai and Guangzhou in China.
"We are planning to launch a sub Rs 10,000 split AC for the Indian market. We are currently working on it," Mr Bhatnagar said.
Electrolux Kelvinator launched its ACs in India in April this year and currently offers five models in windows ACs and six models in split ACs. The company is manufacturing all the windows ACs and two wall-mounted models of split ACs at its new Uttaranchal plant, which has a capacity of churning out 1.20 lakh units annually.
The other four high-end split AC models are being brought in from the Guangzhou factory in China. According to Mr Bhatnagar, the imported models are significantly customised to suit Indian needs and incorporate features like oxyguard and oxy filters, taking into account the higher pollution levels in India.
According to a recent Icra study on the consumer durables industry in India, the room AC market during 2003 was estimated at 9,80,000 units or Rs 2,200 crore in value terms. The industry has been witnessing a CAGR of 17 per cent.
During the calendar year 2004, Electrolux Kelvinator is also planning to ramp up its dealer network-- raising the number of specialist AC sales and service dealers from 150 to 250 and reaching 500 all-product dealers at the retail level, from 350 as of now.