The ‘Green agenda’ is in the mind of the entire automobile industry. While automakers are gearing up to meet stringent BS-VI norms, there is also a lubricant company that sees “going green” as a good differentiator from the competition. Savita Oil Technology is re-launching its 11-year-old motor-oil brand, Savsol, with the addition of what the company is calling a “Green Performer.”
Gautam N. Mehra Managing Director and Sunil Aima CEO - Lubes division, give us an insight of how their new lubricating oil is eco-friendly and talk about their future plans.
Savsol has been in the market for 11 years. What is the need of re-launching the brand?
Mehra: We launched a Biodegradable Transformer Oil last year, which received a favourable customer response. Hence, we thought that we can launch a similar product for automobiles, too, which would be a good differentiator between us and other brands.
So what exactly is a ‘green performer?’
Aima: We are now working on a farm oil-based product having two special attributes – first, it is renewable, coming from a farm; and second, these oils are also more biodegradable. Our first plan is to launch a biodegradable product in the Motorcycle Oil range. The push back is that they are expensive, so pricing is an issue. Still we hope that the trend will find favour with the customers.
As you mentioned, the greener products also bring a cost burden, and in the motorcycle segment, penny saving is common. So are you targeting the more aspirational segment – which is 150cc and above – or is the commuter segment also on your mind?
Aima: People skipping regular services is true but for many there are a lot of personal touches that go into motorbikes. These are the people who want the best for their bikes and are concerned about the environment.
We got research done through an ad agency, the findings of which surprised us. We not only spoke to customers but also to local mechanics. Interestingly, mechanics who work at the lowest level were too eager for the product, as they are the ones most exposed to the pollution. On the other hand, the buyers whom we spoke to were also willing to pay a slight premium as their share for the environment.
Talking about the premium, what would be the difference in the prices of a fossil-based lubricant and the Green Performer?
Mehra: I guess it will be less than double, about 40-50 percent more. And when we are talking bikes, it’s just one litre while in cars it’s four litres, on an average. Trucks take around 11 litres. So in a motorcycle it’s still affordable, being just a premium of under Rs 200.
Is their any emission advantage also? Since that’s the criteria to measure on a green parameter.
Mehra: Strictly speaking, there will be lower emissions but the impact won’t be very dramatic. So the main greener effect comes from the fact that it’s more biodegradable. For example, if there is a leakage or if the mechanic, while changing the oil, spills some of it, it won’t impact the surface and will be less harmful for the environment.
You earlier talked about being ready with products that will meet the requirements of mobility in the future. What are the kind of products you are referring to?
Aima: We are soon going to launch a product for the diesel engine, which may not be a lubricant but something that will help meet the upcoming BS-VI emission norms.