Company Description: ExxonMobil
Lubricants Private Limited (EMLPL) (previously named “Indo Mobil Limited”) was
established in March 1994 to handle the manufacture and sale of lubricants. The
company’s operations include lubricant oil blending, packaging, distribution
and marketing with a growing premium finished lubricants products. Product
range covers Passenger Vehicle Lubricants (PVL), Commercial Vehicle Lubricants
(CVL), industrial lubricants, marine lubricants and greases. EMLPL’s head
office is in Gurgaon (Haryana) and its regional office in Mumbai. Production is
through a toll blending plant in Taloja (near Mumbai). EMLPL’s distribution is
supported by multiple Regional Distribution Centres.
How do you see the lubricants
industry evolving over the years in India?
From my perspective and that of the
industry, we are definitely seeing an evolution in the quality of lubricants
for the past two decades. This is in line with the expectations that we have
from the Indian market. And that is being driven by a variety of factors like
the consumer awareness of quality, wide choices available, and also the
nation’s economic growth. Since the last decade, there has been a robust growth
in industrial production that ultimately boosted the country’s GDP. There has
also been an unprecedented growth in new car sales which ensured global
carmakers establishing their manufacturing base here. So from a Passenger
Vehicle Lubricant’s (PVL) standpoint, we are quite pleased with the evolution
of the domestic lubricants market. And this has further been reinforced by a
number of measures taken by the government like the imposition of BS-III/BS-IV
vehicle emission norms. All such measures generate an investment-friendly
climate in the country.
How important is the Indian market
for Exxon Mobil Lubricants globally?
As far as the importance of the
Indian market is concerned, we have been on an expansion drive. That’s why we
are striving to gain a long term relationship with our OEMs, distributors,
retailers, mechanics, etc. We are also ramping up our distribution network.
Although the economic slowdown is there, all our strategic plans are well on
track. However, we continue to assess the economic situation and make some
tactical adjustments if it’s required. Having said that, such an economic
downturn is going to impact the entire automobile industry. But no company has yet decided to move out of
India because of the downward trend.
How much does the automotive
vertical contribute to your overall business?
As you know, the automotive and
industrial verticals are equally balanced when it comes to the contribution to
our overall business. We have been experiencing an exponential growth in the
PVL segment as compared to the industry segment. The contribution of the
automotive vertical to our overall business will depend on numerous factors.
Which specific segment in the
automotive industry gives you the maximum volumes?
Within the automotive business, we
look at two key sectors. One is the PVL segment and the other is the CVL
segment, particularly the heavy-duty trucks. Within these two segments that we
operate in, it is again pretty well-balanced. Going forward, we do have an
expansion roadmap. As per our go-to-market model, our distributors are dealing
in both CV and PV lubricants. Our plans
are to enhance our business in both the segments in India. In the construction
equipment space, we have a very good presence with Volvo and Caterpillar and
continue to have dialogues with many other manufacturers as well. Apart from
off-highway and on-highway trucks, we are also setting our sights on the LCV
segment. Over a period of time, we might consider tractor and motorcycle
What is the capacity of your
blending plant at Taloja? How many litres of lubricants are earmarked for your
automotive clients? And are the products also exported from here?
Our existing capacity at Taloja is
good enough to meet our future requirements of say four, five or seven years.
Our plant is flexible enough to serve our customers in the medium to long term.
So we don’t see any supply constraints in the foreseeable future. The
automotive clients account for nearly 50 pc of the total output. The plant is
primarily serving the domestic market. But we do export some litres of
lubricants to Nepal, Bhutan et al.
Globally, you have multiple products
under the automotive portfolio. Why you are hardselling only the Mobil 1 in
Yes, we do have multiple lubricants
within the Mobil-branded portfolio globally. And you are right by stating that
‘Mobil1’ is a ‘Focus Brand’ for us in India. ExxonMobil is very proud of its
technology and we do a lot of research and development work for our products.
This company is almost 120 years old and has been a pioneer in its product
line. It has been marketing its products in over 200 countries. And the same
portfolio of brands which is sold worldwide is present in India. So apart from
Mobil1, we have the Mobil Super brand for the PVL segment and Mobil Delvac
brand for the CVL segment. Mobil Super brand is also gaining a lot of traction
in the marketplace. We also have Mobil Super 5W40 fully-synthetic oil for
Maruti Suzuki cars. We also have Mobil1 Racing 40 and Mobil Extra 4T 10W-40,
which is essentially a high performance, semi-synthetic blend technology
four-stroke motorcycle engine oil developed to provide boosted engine
cleanliness and protection for all types of motorcycles and operation. We have
all the portfolio of products which are required in India. Having said that, we
would definitely want to focus more on the Mobil1 as technology leadership is
one of our core values. Moreover, we have gained a lot of consensus from OEMs
for this particular product. That’s why it will continue to be our flagship
product. A lot of carmakers like Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mercedes Benz,
Porsche, Audi, Nissan etc, are actually allowing the sales of Mobil1 at their
How important is the automotive
I would candidly say that the
automotive aftermarket is the major thrust area for us. As compared to the
direct market, not only does the aftermarket have a higher consumption capacity
but we get multiple channels of serving it. In order to market our branded
products, we go for best-in-class distributors which have an extended sales
force and delivery capabilities to serve any channel in the aftermarket. So
whether it is our 400+ Mobil1 Car Care outlets across the country or it is the
retail format or franchisee car dealerships, we are present across the
You are serving quite a few OEMs in
India. Is there scope for more?
Yes, as business development
continues to be our focus areas we are having an ongoing dialogue with new
What are the benefits derived by
allying with Mercedes for their StarDrive performance programmes in India?
Under the StarDrive programme with
Mercedes Benz, we are jointly trying to cater to the existing or potential
Mercedes Benz owners. This programme, which has been going on for the last
three years, has been very satisfying for us in terms of our collaboration with
the German luxury carmaker. This joint initiative is a unique event which gives
us an opportunity to promote the technological advancements of our products.
How are you planning to cash in on
the Formula One fever in India?
We already have a technology
partnership with the Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes F1 team. Incidentally, this is
one of the longest running partnerships in the F1 history. We believe that the
technology that it brings to the team is the unique testing ground for our
products and their technological attributes. The technology that is
incorporated in the F1 cars actually finds its way into the lubricants that we
use for our cars, including the Mobil1 that we use today. So we are pretty active in the F1 space and
intend to leverage on that by bringing many of our clients and customers
directly at the circuit. As a result, they are able to discern the technical
finesse of our automotive lubricants.
Do you have any plans to establish a
dedicated R&D centre here to cater to the domestic market in a better way?
We are definitely growing our
technological presence in India with some people actively engaged in developing
PVLs and CVLs for global markets. We have a dedicated team of R&D personnel
who are collaborating with our overseas engineers on a regular basis. We are
leveraging on the experience which we have gathered at our laboratories across
the globe. So all vital inputs are acquired from the OEMs based everywhere. So
the product development activities are not impacted at all by not having a
dedicated R&D centre here. If you look at the way the technology is
progressing here in India, we can easily source the next-generation products
from our overseas portfolio. We are able to meet the existing requirements (in
India) with our current lineup. For example, Mobil1 0W40 which is being sold
here didn’t require R&D centre in India to customise it for the domestic
market. That is how we are addressing the product development scenario.
Have Rupee depreciation and rising
input costs impacted your business?
High inputs costs have definitely
been a matter of concern for us because we are keenly focussed on product
integrity. We import high-quality base oils in large quantities. But I won’t
consider this as an aberration because India imports 70pc+ for its petroleum
requirements whether it crude oil, or other forms of base oils. Even though we
do have some quantities of base oils available locally, the entire category
spectrum is still not covered through indigenous production. So for the
lubricants industry per se, it is an area of concern. The economic effects of
Rupee depreciation can also be several. But we have to adapt ourselves
Lastly, do you foresee a lot of
growth in India in the next few years?
Our strategies are always in place
which would enable us to grow faster than the industry average. We have been
achieving that as far as the automotive line of business is concerned,
especially in PVL space. Plans are afoot to strengthen our base in the market.
Apart from our investment in people, our sales force has been growing over the
last few years. We are also focussed on diversifying our workforce and taking
in people who are just fresh out of college and intend to build a long-term
career at ExxonMobil. Our communication related activities like ‘Udaan’ have
also been on an upswing.