Owing to technological advancement, economic growth, and heavy investment in all kinds of infrastructure, the Indian Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) market is set to witness phenomenal growth. However, the emergence of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns have left some deep dents in the entire marketplace, especially on non-essential industries. Even in a dire situation like this, one Indian HVAC manufacturer, Cruise Appliances Pvt Ltd, has managed to turn the tables successfully.
Starting its journey back in 1992 with Mr Paras Sirohia, Cruise shares a history of more than 28 years in the Indian Comfort Cooling Industry. Since the early days, Cruise has created ripples in the marketplace with its heavy-duty and premium quality air conditioners offered at affordable price points. Today with a renewed vision of Mr Roshan Sirohia, the company is set to make some remarkable progress. Here are some of the insights he shared with us.
1. What do you think about the pandemic's impact on your business and the HVAC industry?
The coronavirus epidemic undoubtedly had an impact on the industry as a whole. However, we are assertive that we could keep up with our previous numbers through the second half of the year thanks to our new addition of the VarioQool Split Inverter ACs that boast higher efficiency than the competition. It is said that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations and, I feel 2020 was one of those difficult roads for the whole industry at large. We have tried our best to utilize these days of hardship and put in our best efforts to come out stronger. The demand for ACs is set to increase to stay productive with longer work from home hours. We have an optimistic attitude towards expansion in FY22.
2. How did your company deal with the impact?
The Cruise took a proactive approach to the pandemic situation by creating attractive digital offerings that kept the customers connected and engaged with our content at all times. We started servicing our customers through Twitter in regional languages and offering a lower life cycle cost of ownership through India's 1st unique warranty program - Lifetime Free Service. As a result of these initiatives, sales of 5-star Energy-Efficient Air Conditioners have surged by 48 per cent YoY, and our Portable air conditioner series has become the best-selling Cruise product on Amazon. in.
3. Amidst this chaos, what were the new avenues you tapped for business?
So, a trend that we noticed accelerating was a shift to inverter air conditioners with a higher star rating and opting for entry-level capacity air conditioners for large institutions given their price sensitivity. So, we have revived and increased our focus on 5-star ACs that improve indoor air quality, like the VarioQool Air Conditioner with 7-stage PM2.5 filters capable of eliminating 99.99% of viruses and helping customers save more on their electricity bills.
Another avenue that we tapped was with the movable PortaQool ACs designed to be self-installed by the user without relying on a service technician. This also eliminated the need for an outsider entering your home especially given the fear & safety protocols during the second wave of the pandemic. Both these initiatives have helped increase our market share significantly in the e-commerce sector.
4. How do you plan to expand Cruise's reach going forward?
Our goal is to expand the HVAC business with a 360-degree strategy, offering products that best suit people's current lifestyles across different segments of the residential and commercial sectors.
We had large expansion plans before the pandemic but had to put some of them on hold owing to unavoidable circumstances. Now that we see the situation slowly improving, we are focusing on organizing more interactions with our channel partners with exciting rewards schemes to help revive the business and a 'Scan & Win Draw' for millions of our new customers through this festive period.
On the manufacturing end, we have started the development of cold storage refrigerators, deep freezers, and pure water dispensing products. This will be a completely new product line that we are entering that complements our focus on high-quality cooling solutions.
Making a strong presence on digital platforms has aided in the growth of many local organizations' going global. In the last year, we've developed new digital initiatives that have helped us improve our approach to the Indian market.
5. How is this festive season expected to turn out? Is it going to reach the pre-Covid standards?
We anticipate this festive season to be better than the past two years. We are also running zero down-payment & cashback offers, discounts on standard installation, combined with a lower cost of ownership with our lifetime free service commitment that will help save customers almost âÂÂ¹11,000 in the next five years.
6. Which Governmental Schemes have helped you the most in the current business scenario?
With the PLI initiative announced by the Govt. of India - for the manufacturing of Air Conditioner components, we foresee our operating margins improving due to economies of scale that our manufacturing partners and we will be able to avail in the long run. As an international brand with an Indian heart, customers and our channel partners have strongly preferred Cruise as we have been 'Vocal for Local' for the last 28 years. So definitely, our PM's push toward 'Make in India' and 'Make for India' helps in our determination to offer better quality products for our customers.
Like a visionary market leader, Cruise has successfully brought international technology to the Indian HVAC market, improving millions' quality of life. Combining modern business ideas with traditional family business roots, Mr Roshan Sirohia has set the wheels in motion to live through the pandemic. He is now looking forward to taking over the market again with innovation and quality at the forefront.