From heading the marketing team at Continental AG to playing a doting mother to her son, Mallika Rawal dons several roles throughout the day and essays all of them to perfection. She has carved a niche for herself in a field where most people find it hard to strive. Read on as she shares her success mantra with TransREporter and provides a glimpse into her personal and professional life.

Q- You started your career with Hyundai Motors and now after almost a decade you are an integral part of the automotive related industry. How has the journey been? Has auto and related industry always been your calling?

A- The journey has been both personally and professionally enriching. Ever since I became a part of the automotive industry I learnt new things every day. The challenge of constantly reinventing myself and my work has kept this journey interesting. I have always been passionate about marketing and the auto industry has presented me with opportunities to grow within what I love doing.

Q- You recently bagged the TRILA trophy for the ‘Female Personality of the year 2015’. What’s your mantra for success?

A- Success, I feel, is extremely transient. It’s your attitude that stays with you forever. My credo to remain agile and my hunger for learning have always kept me motivated to achieve goals and succeed.

Q- Continental recently launched their complete range of Truck Bus Radial tyres. What are the company’s plans in view of the same?

A- Owing to the better infrastructure and changing loading behaviour of the customers, India’s market is rapidly shifting towards radial commercial vehicle tyres. We are estimating the radialisation rate to be more than 30 per cent and it is only going to increase in future. We launched our complete range of truck and bus radial tyres last year and the customer response has been exceedingly overwhelming. We expect high consumer demand to drive Continental’s growth in this segment with the gradual increase in the radialisation rate.

Q- What are the challenges faced by the tyre industry in India? Any solutions?

A- The biggest challenge faced by the entire tyre industry is the sale of Chinese imported tyres through the grey channels at throwaway prices. The anti-dumping duties, which were imposed on such tyres, have been done away with, further reducing their prices. At Continental, we strongly support the ‘Make in India’ campaign. But for Indian players to have a fair chance against Chinese brands, the playing field needs to be levelled. To manufacture in India, we are paying for the steadily increasing manufacturing costs. Achieving high quality standards has always been a priority for Continental, which again comes at a cost. The need of the hour is government intervention and support to stop Chinese tyre manufacturers from taking over the Indian tyre industry and pushing locally producing multinationals out of India.

Mallika Rawal

The need of the hour is government intervention and support to stop Chinese tyre manufacturers from taking over the Indian tyre industry and pushing locally producing multinationals out of India.

Q- How important are on-ground activities to reach out to a wider consumer base, especially in the rural segments? 

A- Although the potential in the urban market continues to be huge, especially with regard to radial tyres, strong growth is expected from semi-urban and rural areas. The infrastructure development in the rural markets will further drive this growth. On-ground activities help us get closer to customers and speak to them in the language they understand. Commercial vehicle tyres of Continental are high technology driven and are specific to customer needs and requirements. The focus for us is customer oriented marketing and we believe in directly reaching out to customers and creating awareness about our products.

Q- How do you think the automotive mission plan for the decade to 2026 will benefit the tyre industry and Continental Tyres in particular?

A- The automotive Mission plan 2016-2026 is an extremely ambitious plan that spells only good news for us. The plan to increase commercial vehicles to 2.0-3.9 million units shows a huge futuristic opportunity. Commercial vehicle tyres utilisation is proportional to the commercial vehicles plying on the roads. With the increasing spends in the automotive industry we also see major  opportunities for Continental CV tyres.

Q- What is Continental Tyres’ biggest market and what is the newest one?

A- The annual requirement for CVT tyre is approximately 14.32 million tyres of which approximately 30 per cent is for radial tyres. We can foresee the radialisation rate increasing further and this will go up to 34 per cent next year. However, India is still a largely bias tyre driven market. Even today we see maximum demand coming from the bias tyres with the construction segment being the front runner.

Q- What is the brand’s mission and vision?

A- Continental’s vision is a comprehensive statement that determines our way of life here. Highly developed and intelligent technologies for mobility, transport and processing make up our world. We want to provide the best solutions to all our customers in each of our markets. We want to be recognised as value-creating, highly reliable and a respected partner amongst our stakeholders.

Mallika Rawal 2

We want to be recognised as value-creating, highly reliable and a respected partner amongst our stakeholders.

Q- Segment of what type of tyres is the biggest strength of your brand? Why?

A- Continental has a history and heritage of more than 140 years behind them. All our tyres are created after undergoing a lot of research and gaining customer perspective. We are an R&D focused company and each of our products is German engineered, inspired by India. All of them deliver excellent braking, handling, performance and safety through technical excellence, innovation and design. So it’s difficult to pick up a specific type of tyres as our strength. I would, rather, like to point out that manufacturing high quality premium tyres of all kinds is our biggest strength.

Q- Your job demands you to be on your feet all the time. How do manage to balance your personal and professional life?

A- We all try to live a holistic life and achieve harmony between our personal and professional life. Although extremely difficult sometimes, I never take my work back to my home. This way I strive to do justice to both professional as well as personal obligations, striking a balance between the two.

Q- In a field heavily dominated by men, how did you prove your mettle? Was it difficult?

A- I have been very lucky to have always worked in an encouraging environment. My journey has been pleasant throughout and I have enjoyed every bit of it. Continental being a German MNC, has always welcomed my ideas. Previously, I worked in construction equipment and automobile industries, which are again considered to be male-dominated. My experience prepared me well for the tyre industry. In Continental, I have tremendous support from the sales and marketing team and the management. Our dealers have been equally supportive. 

Q- We have noticed a change in the trend and it’s great to hear that women want to get into the industry. Do you think there are any barriers there? 

A- Yes, I agree the trend is changing and due importance is being given to workforce diversity in the workplace. In progressive organisations  like Continental, efforts are being put, to not only introduce women into the workforce, but also make them comfortable and provide them with challenging roles. Despite all the barriers, it’s heartening to see the trend moving towards a more inclusive work culture. 

Mallika Rawal

Despite all the barriers, it’s heartening to see the trend moving towards a more inclusive work culture. 

Q- What’s your biggest stress buster?

A- I always try to strike a balance between my professional and personal life. My biggest stress buster is spending some quality time with my son. Nothing is as relaxing as spending some time with your family and friends.

Q- Any piece of advice for career oriented women out there?

A- I feel I have a lot to achieve before I can impart advice to others. But from my experience I can safely say that one should always remain eager to learn. You see, learning is a continuous process. Never be disheartened by mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Give everything your best and excellence will follow.   

Continental

Give everything your best and excellence will follow.   

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