Air-conditioner maker Hitachi on Monday said it has started hiking the prices of its entire range of products by up to four per cent in order to minimise the impact of increasing raw material costs.
The Indian subsidiary of the Japanese home appliances major will hire about 1,000 people this year as it aims 10 % of the domestic air-conditioner (AC) market.
"The impact of raw material costs is very much and it is affecting our margins. We have hiked the prices of some of our products by 3-4 % from today," Hitachi Home & Life Solutions (India) (HHLI) Executive Director (Corporate Affairs) Amit Doshi said.
The company will hike the prices of all its products by the end of this month by up to four %, he added. "Mainly copper and steel prices are increasing and we are finding it very difficult to further absorb it."
The products of Hitachi are available in the range of about Rs 23,000 to Rs 48,000 in India.
The company today introduced a new range of window and split ACs, priced between Rs 19,990 and Rs 49,990.
"We have laid our road-map till 2015. As part of that strategy, we are targeting 10 % of the domestic AC market in 2011, which will translate into 12 % in value term," HHLI Managing Director Motoo Morimoto said.
The company estimates the Indian AC market at 3.2 million units annually, which is valued at Rs 5,500-6,000 crore, and is growing at about 20 % every year.
HHLI currently enjoys about seven % of the domestic AC market in volume terms and about 10 % in value terms.
Morimoto said the company is aiming 15 % market share by 2015 in both categories of ACs.
"Today, India contributes about 5.2 % in Hitachi's global sales of Rs 15,000 crore. We are expecting it to grow to 6-7 % by 2015," he added.
The company has its manufacturing facility at Kadi in Gujarat with an installed capacity of four lakh units a year.
HHLI is strengthening its workforce by over 40 % to cater to the growing demand.
"Currently we have about 1,700 employees. We will hire about 1,000 more people, mainly on the supply and servicing side, by the end of this year," Doshi said.
The company has a dealer network of 1,500 outlets, which is being expanded to 3,000 in this year. It is also increasing the exclusive company-owned showrooms to over 50 from 32 stores. It has earmarked a capex of Rs 25 crore for this year.
Besides, HHLI Vice President Gurmeet Singh said the company is considering to re-enter the washing machine segment by launching its products, but declined to give details such as time-frame of introduction of the products.