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He started his career at the age of 17, with taking over his father's sanitary ware business. Now he is the sole dealer for Toyota Qualis in Andhra Pradesh. He is Mr. Pankaj Doshi, the dynamic force behind the Doshi Motors Pvt. Ltd., and Doshi Industries Ltd. He leads a simple life but in business he always wanted to be a trend setter. True to his nature he diversified from sanitary ware business to real estate and construction and now into the automobiles. He believes that success depends on long term planning and perfect implementation. Undeterred by the slump in the software industry, this brave man is going to set up a Microsoft Authorised Training Institute in the city. Hyderabad-best presents excerpts of an exclusive interview with Mr. Doshi.

Mr. Pankaj DoshiI think Doshi Ford and Dobro Toyota are owned by you. Are they different companies, or subsidiaries of one company?

Yes. You are correct. I am the managing director of the Ford and the Toyota showrooms. But the two dealerships are subsidiaries of two different companies. Doshi Ford is part of Doshi Industries Limited and Dobro Toyota is part of Doshi Motors Pvt. Limited.

Does Dobro stand for Doshi Brothers? Can you tell some more details of your family?

Yes. We are three brothers. My father Manubhai Doshi, migrated from Nagpur to Hyderabad in the year 1966, in search of lively hood. He set up his own business of small sanitary ware shop - Doshi Sanitary Ware- in troop bazaar. My elder brother Ashok Doshi is looking after the sanitary business and younger brother, Ketan Doshi, is taking care of nylon zip fasteners factory.

How and when you started your career?

Dobro Toyota Show roomFrom the child hood onwards we used to go to our father's shop after school. This is the traditional Gujarati style of teaching business lessons from the child hood. This helped me to learn intricacies of the business transactions and business secrets. When I was 17 years old (in 1972), I asked my father to hand over the business to me. He readily agreed for that. I started my innings from there. I wanted to develop the business by dealing all reputed sanitary ware brands in the country. As ours was a small shop, there was not enough money with our family. We were not in position to invest huge amounts for reputed sanitary ware companies' dealerships. From 1972 to 1976, I went to all the reputed manufacturers to support me by giving dealership on credit basis. Most of the manufacturers expressed their inability to accept my offer. But in 1976 Neycer accepted my proposal. From there I never looked back. I acquired dealerships of all reputed brands within short period. At one point of time, I was able to buy the product at my rate by paying the money across the table. By 1984, Doshi Sanitary Ware became the leader, by capturing more than 70% share of the sanitary ware market in twin cities. Still we are number one in the market.

How the transition took place from the traditional sanitary ware business to modern automobile dealerships?

In fact the transition took place in two phases. First, I diversified into real estate and construction and then on to automobiles.

Can you explain how it happened?

Toyota QualisAfter successfully building up the sanitary business, and capturing sizeable market share, I felt saturation in that area. I was thinking of diversifying into some other area, where I can prove my skills further. In 1985, fortunately I was elected as the president of Hyderabad Chapter of Junior Chamber. In that capacity, I got an opportunity to participate in the Asian Junior Chamber Conference held in the Republic of China in 1985. I halted in Hong Kong for one day, en route for China, which turned my life. I was amazed by the architecture of the buildings and town planning. Then and there I decided to venture on the real estate and construct residential and commercial complexes with international standard of architecture and quality. Soon after returning to India, I acquired a land in Basheerbagh area and built a commercial complex - Doshi Chambers- which now houses prestigious business houses like Volvo India, Canara Bank besides Dobro Toyota showroom. The dimensions of the building are 60 ft by 110 ft. Can you expect a building with these dimensions and without columns in between the walls? But we made it happen. For this innovative building design I got an award in 1993. From 1985 to 1995, I built about 10 constructions in prime localities of Hyderabad which include residential flats and commercial complexes as well. In 1995, Ford entered into the Indian market, I thought this may be the right vehicle to fulfil my dreams. As I was in service industry, and I wanted to be a trendsetter in the market. I approached them for the dealership, Ford readily accepted my proposal. After successful launching of Ford in Hyderabad market, I got another opportunity to associate with the Toyota to launch Qualis in 2000.

Why did you preferred Ford and Toyota to Maruti or Fiat?

The main objective of switch over to the automobile sector is to be a trend setter. Maruti and Fiat were already in market. People already knew the quality of services they offer to the customers. I preferred Ford and Toyota, the leaders in the international automobile market, because they proved their efficiency in the customer care, quality, etc. I believe that, if you are with a leader, you can do miracles.

In your opinion which multi utility vehicle is close competitor to the Toyota Qualis?

Doshi Chambers,  Innovative architectural pieceI don't believe in competition. Toyota Qualis has its own class of customers. Generally the Indian families are big with more than five members in each family. A car may not be perfect vehicle for them when they all want to go together for a weekend holiday. A multi utility vehicle like Qualis is necessary to accommodate all the family members. Toyota is the world renowned brand. Moreover, the Qualis is a spacious vehicle with fuel efficient engine which comes with great power. We sold more than 1200 vehicle with in one year. We achieved this only due to availability of more than ten variants at a time coupled with the price package suitable for every section of the market.

You said that, your main objective behind entering into the automobiles is to be a trend setter in the customer care. What special services you have been offering to the customers so far?

We are the only dealers for the Toyota Qualis in the State. Obviously, most of the Qualis vehicles used by people across the Andhra Pradesh, have to be delivered by us. You will be wondered to know as to how we are giving customer service to the person who is using Toyota in Srikakulam district, which is about 700 km from Hyderabad. An out station Toyota customer need not come to Hyderabad work shop for regular servicing or for any other problem. We will provide service to him at his door step with one phone call or Fax. We maintain the customer data with vehicle history. Whenever our servicing team goes to districts, they inform the customers on their route or near by areas about their presence in that area. If the customers have any problem with the vehicle they can approach the servicing team for rectifications. The service team also carries required spare parts to replace damaged one -on the spot- if necessary. Every customer is happy with our service. Apart from that we have an in-house financial assistance cell. We tied up with ICICI for Toyota and Ford Credit provides loans for Ford cars. We also have special cell for insurance. 70% of the Toyota vehicles sold by us insured with our in-house cell which are tied up with New India Insurance Ltd. We have trained insurance surveyors and supervisors, who can take up the process of all insurance claims on behalf of the customers. This procedure reduces customers' work drastically, and they will get their claims at their door step.

You have been successful in whatever fields you chosen till now. What is the secret behind your success?

The successful DoshiIn our family we collectively discuss the business matters. But when it comes to decision making, we leave it to the project head. For instance, I am heading the Dobro Toyota. I am the final authority to take decisions regarding this business. Another factor for my success is 'I am free of liabilities'. I never depended on financial institutions or banks to run my business. The two automobile show rooms are housed in my own buildings. So there is no rental liability, too.

Future plans….?

Yes. I have a couple of future plans, for which I have been preparing ground. In August 2001, I am going to open a Micro Soft Authorised Software Training Centre in association with KarRox technologies. I submitted a unique proposal regarding the recognition of software technology parks, to the governments of Karnataka, Rajasthan including Andhra Pradesh. In my proposal, I asked the governments to recognise the properties where at least 30,000 square feet of area is earmarked for software development industry and pass on all the benefits given to the companies working in software parks like Hitec city. Travelling, accommodation and food requirement is a never ending necessity in this world. My yet another future project is based on this universal fact. I want to a build a budget hotel in the vicinity of the five star hotels. I am looking up for the suitable location for that and I am sure I will make it happen.
- Mohan G. Jagan
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