This is prime time for India in the global marketplace: David Kohler

India is the only country in the world where Kohler has three experience centres. The brand plans to build more immersive experiences. It is adding 160 showrooms this year, growing its India network to 1,000.

By  Storyboard18Sep 9, 2023 9:23 AM
This is prime time for India in the global marketplace: David Kohler
David Kohler believes that the Indian consumer has passion and they are courageous. “We love the aesthetic variety that is needed in India. We also see a great appetite for leading edge smart products. Intelligent toilets or smart showers, all of these have been important in a fast-growing segment in India,” he says. (Image source: kohlercompany.com)

Kohler, the legacy brand that provides energy resilience solutions that sustain people, businesses, and communities around the world, has been around for 150 years. On CNBC-TV18, Storyboard18's editor Delshad Irani spoke to David Kohler, chair and chief executive officer of Kohler Company, one of America’s oldest and largest privately held companies, to find out what he thinks of Indian customers and the Indian market.

It takes a lot of hard work, says Kohler, while talking about building enduring brands. “We have been fortunate enough for 150 years to be blessed with generations of great associates with passion, drive and tenacity. It also takes discipline, work ethic and commitment to a set of values that you stick to over a long period of time. “

“We are very committed to people, the planet, profits and sustainability as a company. In fact, in 2023, we launched our second Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) report. We have made a commitment to have net zero environmental impact by 2035. We have reduced our environmental footprint up to 40-50 percent,” he said.

Kohler says Indian consumers care about sustainability, and they look for more water- conserving products. In fact, India is the only country in the world where Kohler has three experience centres and the brand plans to build more immersive experiences. This year, it is adding 160 showrooms, which will grow its India network to 1,000 showrooms.

He says this decade would be India’s decade. “The future is very bright for India. It is great to see the investment and infrastructure in this country, making it a more business-friendly environment. We not only want to market here but manufacture as well. Some of our best manufacturing facilities in the world with state-of-the-world technology are here in India and they are not only producing for India but also exporting,” he said.

‘Investing in all lines of businesses in India’

Kohler says the brand is investing in all its lines of businesses in India. “For our kitchen and bath businesses, we have our manufacturing unit in Gujarat. We have our faucet and ceramics manufacturing facilities, and we plan to expand then in the next year to 36 months. We are also investing in a new electrical vehicle controlled facility in Pune. The company there makes controllers for off-highway electric vehicles. In Aurangabad, we have a diesel engine manufacturing facility today. This year, we are breaking ground with a brand new diesel engine manufacturing facility for domestic consumption as well as global export,” he said.

Kohler believes that the Indian consumer has passion and they are courageous. “For instance, our colour mix in India is one of the strongest in the world. We have designed specific colours, like peacock, which are appropriate for the Indian market. Our finish mix on faucets is incredible in the Indian market. There is just an appetite for a beautiful variety of finishes. We love the aesthetic variety that is needed in India. We also see a great appetite for leading edge smart products. Intelligent toilets or smart showers, all of these have been important in a fast-growing segment in India,” he says.

He says there is a strong appetite for the premium and luxury market in India and that is only going to continue with the demographic trends in the country.

First Published on Sep 7, 2023 12:46 PM

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