With its enormous market potential, Asia has been identified by Scania as the company’s ‘third hub’ after Europe and Latin America.
Scania is targeting the period up until 2020 to realise some of the rich potential afforded by various markets in Asia and Oceania. “Scania’s aim is to make Asia our third hub after Europe and Latin America,” says Anders Gustafsson, Regional Director for Asia and Oceania. “We are committing a lot of resources and setting high but attainable targets for the markets. There’s a lot going on.”
Although each market has its own economic features, influenced by factors such as cultural aspects, country size and customer profiles (owner-drivers in Korea, huge fleets in China), Scania can separate this huge area into three broad categories.
“First of all, there are the countries in which Scania has had a presence for some time, such as Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. There, the platform is fairly stable, with continuous growth akin to what Scania sees in some parts of Europe such as Sweden and the UK,” says Gustafsson.
Then there are the areas with enormous possibilities: “We see China, Thailand and Japan as having big growth potential. China sold one million trucks last year, three times that of Europe, but only around 5,000 of those vehicles were imported. Japan’s focus on premium quality suits the Scania strategy.”
Finally, there are the up-and-coming markets such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and, another big prize, India.
How Scania can realise Asian markets’ potential
With ambitious growth targets for both trucks and for buses and coaches, Scania sees the launch of the new truck generation as crucial to achieving success. As such, 2018 is going to be a demanding year.
“This is the year that we will see us make the transition from the current generation of trucks to the new generation. Although it will be on a smaller scale than Europe, we are actually going to be launching all of the new truck ranges at once in a ‘big bang’.”
Following the launch in Japan at the Tokyo Motor Show in October last year, it’s now time for Korea with the first delivery to customers in Asia. At the same time as the launch Scania is also the main sponsor of the Sweden Arena in its latest incarnation at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The new generation will then be launched across the different markets in Asia during 2018 and 2019.
Sustainability in Asia: driven by governments
One area where Asia is developing a bit differently from Europe is sustainability. Here, it is driven less by customer demand and more by governments and megacities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Jakarta, who want to radically reduce unacceptable air pollution and traffic congestion levels to tackle issues of health, climate change and economic efficiency. Buses, coaches and trucks with sustainable solutions will all play crucial roles.
“These places are working on smart city initiatives and they are coming to us saying ‘what can you do to help us?’”, says Gustafsson. “I think Asia is actually in the forefront when it comes to pushing these solutions forward.”
It’s clear that 2018 is going to be a very busy year, but Gustafsson is enthused by the prospect. “There is a lot to do, but it’s an exciting challenge and an exciting time,” he says.