US-based Kitchen and bath fittings major Kohler is expecting India to figure alongside the US and China in its top three markets globally, for which it is expanding production capacity and distribution network.
The company, which has so far invested around US $200 million in India by setting up plant at Jhagadia, Gujarat, plans to make it the manufacturing and distribution hub for Asia Pacific market.
Besides, the company would enhance its sales network in the domestic markets by having presence in 200 towns in next three years and become a 1,000 store company in next five years.
“We consider India as one of three core markets after US and China. It continues to be one of our most strategic market and we think that given our growth in the last 10 years and strong GDP forecast for the economy, over time it will be one of three biggest markets in the world,” Kohler Co President & CEO David Kohler told news agency PTI.
Presently, India figures among its top 10 markets globally, he added.
On expansion plans, Kohler told PTI: “We plan to make Jhagadia plant our manufacturing and distribution hub for Asia Pacific market and expect to maintain double digit growth every year.
“Most of the production of Jhagadia plant will be for the domestic market and a small part will be exported to the US and Europe.”
Presently, over 80 per cent of the faucets and ceramics which Kohler sells in India are made in Gujarat and it imports only low volume items.
On network expansion, Kohler President, India, South Asia and EMEA Salil Sadanandan said that the company would expand in major tier II & III cities besides the metro markets through franchise model.
“By the end of this year, we would be in 125 towns and plan is that over the next three years, we would reach somewhere between 180 to 200 towns where the majority of market for brands like our exists,” he told PTI.
Kohler is also partnering with various online marketplaces to increase presence in e-commerce space. “We see online sales becoming an important channel for us. We are partnering with people who know how to sell,” Sadanandan was quoted by PTI as saying.
Presently, Kohler India’s sale is evenly split between institutional and retail channels.
Kohler is also coming out with its first experience center in Delhi. “We would not sell our product from here. It would be meant for inspiring the designer fraternity, developers and high-end customers. We would have our full range on display,” he further told PTI.