In Conversation

'In conversation' is a series of interviews with auto industry leaders, analysts and experts and is published exclusively on LTD-Licence to Drive. 

In Conversation with Vimal Sumbly, Managing Director at Triumph Motorcycles India

If you walk into Vimal Sumbly's office, you are more likely to find riding jackets than suits on the hanger. The man at the driving seat, or rather riding seat of Triumph Motorcycles in India, has been pushing the frontiers of luxury biking here by introducing an irresistible range from the cult British motorcycling brand. We caught up with him just a few weeks after the launch of the iconic Bonneville Bobber to know more about the brand's journey so far, luxury biking in the Indian context, and more. Read more

In Conversation with Vikram Pawah, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson India

Vikram Pawah has been at the helm of Harley-Davidson India for little over a year, since September 2015. Before his current role he spent over two decades with Honda Cars, across leadership positions in the Indian and Australian markets. An alumni of Delhi University with a MBA from Victoria University, Vikram is a passionate biker himself which we assume, must have made the transition from four wheels to two quite effortless. We caught up with him after the launch of Harley-Davidson India's 2017 line up of motorcycles for a tête-à-tête, where he shares his views about the future of luxury biking in India with us. Read more

In Conversation with Red Bull athlete and rally sensation CS Santosh - the first and only Indian to compete at the Dakar Rally

He is India’s most accomplished supercross & rally-raid champion. The finest off-road rider we ever had. Consistent and relentless in his pursuit for seemingly impossible challenges. Resolute and dauntless in his fight against all odds. Always passionate about #ChasingRainbows. His skill and determination have helped him breeze past numerous challenges (including a near fatal experience in 2013) and moulded him into the finest rider that India has ever produced. He is quite literally one in a billion plus.

Meet CS Santosh. India's first and only rider to participate and complete what is perhaps the most treacherous endurance race on the planet - The Dakar Rally. At age 30, he stands tall at 6'0", is fighting fit, and ready to take on a second Dakar under his belt in Argentina-Bolivia, early next month. Read more

In Conversation with Philipp von Sahr, President, BMW Group India

Philipp von Sahr has been the President at BMW Group India since October 2012. An alumni of the University of Munich with a Master of Business Administration, he started his career at BMW AG, Munich in 1979 at the age of 21. The BMW Group in India has its sight set firmly on the premium sector of the automobile market with its three brands: BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce. Raghav Sarma spoke to Philipp von Sahr about the journey of the group in India so far, the challenges of marketing luxury brands in a value driven market, the changing dynamics of the market and the media, and plans for year 2015 and beyond. Read more

In Conversation with Ranjit Yadav, President (Passenger Vehicle Business Unit), Tata Motors

An alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore), University of Delhi and Mayo College (Ajmer), Ranjit Yadav is the head of the Passenger Cars Division at Tata Motors. For over two decades he has held key positions in the consumer electronics & IT industry: at Philips India/ Asia Pacific, Hewlett-Packard Asia Pacific and Samsung India, where he was the Country Head-Mobile & IT before joining Tata Motors in October 2012. Here, he talks to us about what's going on behind the scene at Tata Motors - the huge leap forward in product development, emphasis on R&D, thrust on changing perceptions and mindsets, the branding effort to meet new customer expectations and an aggressive strategy of launching two new products every year. Read more

Ashish Gupta, Founder & Director, Cougar Motorsport, in conversation with Raghav Sarma

Investment banker turned motor sport enthusiast, Ashish Gupta is the Founder & Director of Cougar Motorsport. Formed in 2009, Cougar Motorsport brings together the experience of motor sport competitors, officials and event management specialists and has successfully conceptualized and executed many signature events like The Himalayan Dash and The Desert Dash. Ashish himself is a veteran rallyist, having participated in the Desert Storm and the Xtreme Raid De Himalaya. He now brings to India one of the world's top ten toughest motor races and the most internationally represented 4X4 off-road motorsport event, the Rainforest Challenge (RFC). Read more

Ian Callum, Director of Design - Jaguar Cars, in conversation with Raghav Sarma

"Design creates order out of chaos, but chaos is often required to simply be creative."
This is Ian Callum's #1 philosophy on design. In 1968, as a young 14 year old, he submitted his first car design to Jaguar in the hope of landing a job. It is a sweet coincidence that I am doing my first interview with him at about the same age.

The legendary British automobile designer now serves as the Design Director of Jaguar globally. He is the man behind Jaguar's new design language and has led the redesign of the XF, XK, XJ and the recent F-Type. He has previously served at Ford, Aston Martin and TWR and was partially responsible for designing the Aston Martin DB7, laid the foundation for DB9 and designed the Aston Martin Vanquish. Read more

Michael Perschke, Head - Audi India in conversation with Raghav Sarma

In this year end exclusive on the Licence to Drive platform, we bring you a Q&A session with Audi India's top boss Michael Perschke. Brand Audi has had a phenomenal run in India under him so far, positioning itself as the vehicle of choice for an emerging set of young, successful & nouveau riche Indians with ever expanding desires. It's sporty, edgy and tech-driven aggression has been well harnessed and seems to have connected well with the rising aspirations of the fast & the furious. Read more

Peter T. Honegg, Managing Director & CEO at Mercedes-Benz, India in conversation with Raghav Sarma

In this month's exclusive Q&A session on Licence to Drive, we are pleased to welcome Mr. Peter T. Honegg, Managing Director and CEO at Mercedes-Benz India. Mr. Honegg had been a lifer at Daimler - the third generation from his family to work with the company and is heading Indian operations since early 2011. In India, the Chakan plant of Mercedes-Benz spread across 100 acres is rated as one of the best CKD plant of Daimler outside Germany, with current investment of Rs.850 crores and a capacity to produce 10,000 units annually. Read more

Anand Mahindra, Chairman & Managing Director, Mahindra Group in conversation with Raghav Sarma

Anand Mahindra is the Chairman & Managing Director of the US$ 15.4 billion diversified Mahindra Group (; which has a strong and growing presence in the global automotive sector. As one of the most respected global business leaders, he has been an inspiration to many with his visionary approach and strong entrepreneurial drive that has taken the group from humble beginnings to become one of India's largest multinational enterprise with a global presence. In this exclusive Q&A session on the Licence to Drive platform, he shares his insights on growth, innovation, new thinking and what drives him in a tough and challenging business environment. Read more

Jim Holder, Editor, Autocar (UK) in conversation with Raghav Sarma

Jim Holder is currently the Editor of Autocar, Britain's oldest and most prestigious car magazine. He is also the Editor of which is a leading motoring website in Britain. In his first ever interaction with the Indian media on the Licence to Drive platform, he discusses the British and the Indian auto industry, its global context and shares his insights on the future of publishing in a fast changing world. Read more
In Conversation In Conversation Reviewed by Raghav Sarma on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 Rating: 5
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