Kunal Talgeri

Consulting Editor, The Ken

Kunal is a Bangalore-based business journalist who has dabbled in editing and reporting since 2001. He has covered the technology industry for the Indian editions of Fortune and Forbes, as well as The Economic Times. A commerce graduate, Kunal also studied at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.

6 Articles published

Top Comments by Kunal Talgeri

Out of gas, India's auto sector reaches out for digital fuel

Hello Somyakanta, the problem of inventory is more pronounced in the two-wheeler segment than passenger vehicles, and hence generic. On who to blame, the answer isn't so straightforward. Dealers have been trying to amplify the message since mid-2019 that retail demand is low, which is at odds with automakers' reading of the market. A large set of dealerships in India is reliant on OEMs' software, and wants automakers to report the retail figures captured by the software, instead of the SIAM data (sales to dealerships). Many industry experts I spoke with were at sea to give a revenue-size number for the automotive industry. It is imperative that the industry focuses on retail sales, rather than wholesale data. Apart from that, as dealerships get more digital and track online interest in vehicles, their estimates of market behaviour will become more scientific than the current practice of monitoring showroom-footfalls and focusing on converting that cluster.

Kunal Talgeri

Out of gas, India's auto sector reaches out for digital fuel

Thanks Prateek, I take your point. I used the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles example because they were responsive. Perhaps it was easier for FCA because it is a fringe player, but FCA kept close tabs on the final leg to ensure inventory was sold out before February 2020. In contrast, even as late as 15 Feb 2020, the FADA had to notify OEMs to stop sending BS IV stock. Many OEMs I approached for perspective didn't want to comment on inventory.

Kunal Talgeri

Out of gas, India's auto sector reaches out for digital fuel

Hello Suchi, two-wheeler dealers are still stuck with BS-IV inventory. We addressed it in our story because the BS-VI deadline coincided with the lockdowns. Currently, manufacturers are assessing the extent of the problem, as dealers don't want to bear the cost. This matter could also go up to the Supreme Court, based on my interactions with FADA. Mr RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, is seeing one slice of the problem as the carmaker's factories in Gujarat opened after Gurgaon and Manesar. Two-wheeler factories' operations have also been disrupted like TVS Motors and Bajaj Auto because of lockdowns in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra respectively. But think about it: will any manufacturer acknowledge oversupply in the period between Jan and March 2020? Only the dealers are stuck with excess inventory.

Kunal Talgeri

Out of gas, India's auto sector reaches out for digital fuel

Hi Abhinav, I checked this with FADA India -- the time taken to complete one demand cycle in dealerships has gone up: from 25 days to almost two months. And, if dealers need 1,000 units in a month, they are ordering 750 because of demand sentiment. The dip in consumer sentiment was visible in mid-2019 itself for two reasons: customers were delaying purchase-decision to not be stuck with BS-IV vehicles. And two, the economy was in bad shape even before the pandemic. This is a discretionary spend. Sensing this, dealers had been requesting OEMs to slow down production from July 2019, so that they are not stuck with inventory.

Kunal Talgeri

Walmart Labs and India's offshoring 3.X moment

In the current wave, US multinationals who have set up development centres in India include Apple, UiPath, Automation Anywhere, Cargill, Boeing, Linkedin and Exxon. I had visited the Automation Anywhere (AA) facility in Bengaluru last year, which was set up in in 2017. This is apart from 600 persons (mostly engineers) in Vadodara, a centre that focuses on customer support, service and expanding the scope of AA customers’ product journey beyond RPA (robotics process automation). The Bengaluru centre has scaled up to 760 employees, which includes techies and salespeople to grow AA’s local market presence. Bengaluru's focus will be cognitive automation.

Kunal Talgeri

Walmart Labs and India's offshoring 3.X moment

You're right, Shriyansh. The move to Rural India could happen in a decentralised way, as new engineering graduates stay back in their home locations but are made a part of offshore teams of both IT service providers, as well as the multinationals' development centres. Location becomes insignificant in that model. Already, companies like ANZ and Wipro have seen their employees return to their hometowns, but who work from home. A second way is new locations for captive units--Ahmedabad (financial services), Vadodara (software services), Coimbatore (auto, pharma), et al.

Kunal Talgeri

Swiggy's big wish from Genie—reinvention

Hello Hardik, that is a great question. Many companies assume the number of unique credit-cardholders in India to be at 25 million. This is because there is a high incidence of credit-cardholders who have more than one card. According to RBI statistics, the number of credit cards in operations was at 56.1 million in January 2020. Given that, companies assume the unique number of credit-card holders to range between 25 million and 30 million.

Kunal Talgeri

Stories by Kunal Talgeri