Nippon Paint ‘Mastering’ Markets from OE Sales to Refurbish Aftermarket

In an interaction with Rajesh Rajgor, Sharad Malhotra, Director and President (Automotive Refinishes) at Nippon Paint, sheds light on the company’s milestone with the inaugural Mastercraft store in Gurugram, signifying a commitment to redefine automotive refinishing in India. With a focus on quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, Mastercraft aims to elevate industry standards, offering impeccable paint finishes and innovative technology. Malhotra’s insights underscore Nippon Paint’s multifaceted approach, from OEM sales to expanding manufacturing capabilities and global reach, ensuring a comprehensive strategy for growth and excellence in the automotive aftermarket.

Mastercraft’s inaugural store in Gurugram, operated by N-Square Automotive Services, represents a milestone in Nippon Paint’s journey to redefine automotive refinishing in India. Positioned strategically to cater to automobile owners in Gurugram, Delhi, and the NCR region, the store promises impeccable paint finishes and innovative, state-of-the-art technology. “The launch of Mastercraft epitomizes our commitment to the Indian market to provide efficient and green automotive aftermarket paint solutions,” says Malhotra. This commitment extends beyond mere service provision; it’s about revolutionizing the industry by delivering superior quality and experiences.

Malhotra emphasizes, “We hope to deliver customer solutions that are different and better than what most customers get in the Indian market today. Mastercraft is born out of our desire to apply our technology in the right way, combining Japanese precision with international experience.” This amalgamation of expertise ensures that every service provided under the Mastercraft banner meets the highest standards of quality and craftsmanship.

Quality and Affordability Combined
The facility in Gurugram is not just about painting cars; it’s about creating masterful experiences for car enthusiasts. With eco-friendly paints, sustainable solutions, and velocity repairs capable of completing small fixes in as little as 100 minutes, Mastercraft sets a new benchmark for automotive refinishing.

Malhotra explains the facility’s capacity and expansion plans, stating, “The facility can repair around 2500 cars annually, serving as a pilot to test our model. If successful, we aim to expand Mastercraft stores across India and overseas.” This ambitious vision underscores Nippon Paint’s commitment to revolutionizing the automotive aftermarket landscape globally.

Mastercraft isn’t just a brand; it’s a movement towards elevating service standards in the paint industry. Malhotra asserts, “This is not just about Mastercraft; it’s about raising the bar for the entire industry. It’s a passion project to create masterful experiences for our customers.” This dedication to excellence permeates every aspect of the Mastercraft ethos, ensuring that customers receive nothing short of perfection.

Looking ahead, Malhotra remains focused on growth and customer satisfaction. “It’s a pilot stage; we haven’t defined specific numbers. Our goal is to take this concept everywhere, focusing on growth and customer satisfaction,” he notes. This customer-centric approach drives Nippon Paint’s continuous innovation and expansion efforts.

In response to evolving consumer preferences, Mastercraft offers eco-friendly paints and AI-based color matching services to meet the aspirations of quality-conscious and environmentally aware Indian consumers. Malhotra reassures customers about the unparalleled quality of Mastercraft’s offerings, affirming, “We offer Best in Class paint quality, imported from our international facilities.”

Despite offering top-notch quality, Mastercraft remains committed to affordability. Malhotra reiterates, “We are committed to providing quality services to our customers, and we wish to offer the best customer experience with the new Mastercraft Outlet at an affordable rates.” This dedication to accessibility ensures that Mastercraft remains the preferred choice for automotive refinishing needs, setting new standards of excellence in the industry.

Catering to OEM’s and Aftermarket
One of the key aspects of Nippon Paint’s strategy is its sales to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive industry. Malhotra highlights the company’s steady growth in this area, achieved through a strong focus on expanding market presence, introducing new products, and ensuring customer satisfaction. “Nippon Paint’s sales to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the automotive industry in India have been growing steadily, with a strong focus on expanding their market presence, introducing new products, and ensuring customer satisfaction,” explains Malhotra.

Regarding partnerships with Indian auto OEMs, Malhotra explains the company’s multifaceted approach, emphasizing collaboration and open communication channels to understand OEMs’ specific needs and challenges. “Strategic partnerships with Indian auto OEMs play a pivotal role in our expansion plans. Our approach to establishing partnerships with Indian auto OEMs is multifaceted. Firstly, we prioritize collaboration and open communication channels with OEMs to understand their unique needs, challenges, and aspirations,” says Malhotra.

Nippon Paint’s strategic expansion into the automotive aftermarket sector in India is not just a venture into a growing industry but a deliberate move guided by a thorough understanding of the sector’s dynamics and immense potential. Malhotra, emphasizes the company’s commitment to pioneering market opportunities while prioritizing quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction.

“Our strategic expansion into the automotive aftermarket is guided by a thorough understanding of the sector’s dynamics and the immense potential it holds. With the sector witnessing robust growth and the automotive paints aftermarket business in India growing upwards of US$ 300 Million, Nippon Paint recognizes the opportunities it presents,” says Malhotra.

Manufacturing Capabilities and Global Reach
Nippon Paint’s manufacturing capabilities also play a crucial role in its expansion plans. The company currently operates 177 manufacturing sites globally, with 8 sites in India. Malhotra discusses the company’s current capacity and ambitious plans for expansion. “Nippon Paint has 177 manufacturing sites in 48 countries currently, with 8 sites located in India. For automotive aftermarket and commercial vehicle paint production, we currently use 2 sites in Haryana and 2 sites in Tamil Nadu. For these specific businesses, our current manufacturing capacity is in excess of 2000 tons per month, and we have ambitious plans to double this capacity in the medium term,” says Malhotra.

Malhotra further highlights, “With our expanding manufacturing footprint, we’re enhancing distribution and market presence. We’re exploring entry into African, European, and Central Asian markets, seeing promising developments. It’s heartening as an Indian to witness our goods marketed successfully in over 20 countries, including developed ones. Make in India has truly arrived for us!”

Malhotra adds, “We have recently acquired a manufacturing company in Thailand and also in the process of establishing manufacturing sites in UAE, through collaborations. This strategic move aligns with our goal of enhancing our manufacturing footprint and expanding our presence in key markets.”

Nippon Paint’s commitment to innovation is evident in its Research and Development (R&D) efforts. Malhotra highlights the company’s dedication to investing in R&D to uphold its position as a leader in innovation and excellence. “At Nippon Paint, we maintain an unwavering commitment to investing in R&D to uphold our position as a leader in innovation and excellence,” states Malhotra.

Comprehensive Approach to Distribution and Market Initiatives
In terms of capturing market share within India’s rapidly growing auto refurbish aftermarket, Nippon Paint has implemented various initiatives and innovations, including the introduction of the ‘Mastercraft’ brand. “We believe the consumer-facing automotive body and paint repair service brand, ‘Mastercraft,’ in India will deliver exemplary body and paintwork, car detailing services, and ultra-fast repairs, all backed by Japanese precision and technology,” explains Malhotra.

Nippon Paint’s distribution network and marketing efforts are geared towards increasing awareness and acceptance of its products among consumers and service providers in the Indian auto refurbish aftermarket. Malhotra discusses the company’s comprehensive distribution network and strategic partnerships with leading automobile manufacturers and OEMs.

Malhotra highlights Nippon Paint’s comprehensive approach, stating, “We are catering to India’s robust and expanding automotive aftermarket through our network of offices, warehouses, and dealer network. We have a presence in more than 1500 towns in India and can cater to demand even to the most far off and remote pin codes. Besides ensuring product availability across India, we are also focused on developing India-centric products and services which is unlike what most MNCs do in this space.”

He further emphasizes, “Unique programs and digitally enabled loyalty initiatives, like the Rangon ke Baashah campaign, have witnessed widespread participation, facilitating a robust outreach to painters across India.” says Malhotra.

In terms of growth targets for the commercial vehicle (CV) and railway segments, Nippon Paint aims to leverage its expertise in car body repair and paint services to provide high-quality solutions tailored to the unique requirements of these segments. “We are excited about the growth prospects in India’s automotive aftermarket, and allied markets, particularly in the commercial vehicle (CV) and railway segments which are growing rapidly in India,” concludes Malhotra.