Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd Managing Director Ravi Chawla
Ravi Chawla, the managing director of Gulf Oil Lubricants India Ltd, was recently in Nepal, along with former Manchester United footballer Quinton Fortune, for brand promotion of Gulf lubricants in Nepal.
Nepal Lube Oil Ltd is the licensee of Gulf Oil International to manufacture and distribute Gulf brand of lubricants in the Nepali market. In an interview with Republica, Chawla, who is also a member of Global Executive Council of Gulf Oil International, talked about the global and Nepali market for lubricants, among other issues. Excerpts:
How is the market of lubricants in the world in general and in Nepal in particular?
The overall rate of growth of lubricants is 1 to 1.5 percent. There are some emerging markets where the sale of lubricants is rising even higher than that. The volume growth is, of course, is not in line with the growth of automobiles sector. We are a global brand and we are present in more than 110 countries.
I think the changes in emission norms for vehicles will involve the requirement for higher quality lubricants. When economy improves, more vehicle ownership goes up. Globally, we are among the top 15 lubricant companies. In India, we are among the top three brands. With emerging cities and countries, like Nepal, there are lots of opportunities available. Lubricants market in Nepal Is growing at the rate of 6 to 7 percent annually.
How competitive is the market in Nepal and South Asia?
Many multinational brands are present in the market in one form or the other. There also are some public sector companies which have their own brands. There are more than 15-20 global brands. In Southeast Asia, we see many brands which have been there for many years. Gulf has been present in Nepal for 30 years and is now the No. 1 lubricant. With the quality lubricants requirement on higher side and new emission norms coming, we see a lot of opportunities. Vehicles sale are doing very well here. The growth of vehicles here is nearly 20 percent which, probably, is one of the highest.
What benefits do vehicle owners get by using quality lubricants?
Owners of the vehicles and equipments using the right lubricants would get better performance. If you use the right quality of lubricants throughout, you need to repair your vehicles and equipment less frequently. Also the engine life gets extended. Using the right lubricants ensures that you car is running smoothly. Similarly, your bike gets better pick up whenever you want.
What are the challenges for lubricants business in Nepal?
Customers are getting conscious about the quality of vehicles, and they are going for better vehicles.
Fuel quality is also a challenge when you have to meet emission norms. There is a need to conduct awareness campaign to encourage consumers to use right quality which extends engine life and gives good service. Similarly, we have to educate mechanics, who do repair, or consumers and provide right information of lubricants to them. Also, the availability at the right time and right point to retailers across the country is also important.
There are calls for adoption of clean transport across the world. Is it posing challenge to the lubricant market?
We have special lubricants for vehicles running with compressed natural gas (CNG). When you talk about battery-operated vehicles, they do not use the engine oil. Battery-operated vehicles are coming up aggressively, but the cost of battery and facilities is high and the infrastructure should also come in for that. Probably in coming 10 to 15 years, there might be some impact but we don't see it posing a major impact in the near future.
You brought along a former Manchester United player to Nepal. What has the lubricants to do with the sports?
We tied up with Manchester United in January to promote our brand globally. We are happy that we are having one of Manchester United legends to come here to talk about their association with us.
There is a passion for football here in Nepal. In football, players have to play with a lot of passion and show endurance. Passion and quality endurance are our brand values which also go with the sports. We feel that the target audiences buy our products, they enjoy and develop the sports, and we are partnering with them in that journey. Once they look at our product, I am sure there is a synergy to have them try our product and experience it.