By James Wells in Gutersloh, Germany
GUTERSLOH: The managing director of Miele, Dr Markus Miele, has confirmed he plans to open up to six new subsidiaries over the next two years including Brazil and Argentina as well as the sleeping giant — India.
“I would say 40 subsidiaries have to be reached in the next two years. We are looking at Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia and we have hired someone who is starting up the business, but for legal reason this might result in three separate subsidiaries," Miele told Current.com.au in an exclusive interview.
“We are looking at India, which is a very interesting market. There is huge market potential as there are already a large number of millionaires in India.”
While Australia was Miele’s first subsidiary in 1980, Chile was its 38th subsidiary, which was added in February.
“The distributor in Chile sold us the business and we think we can do better. It is a small business, but concerning brand and image, an importer always looks at the business differently. When it comes to service and advertising, we have to invest in the long term. We have to stay in Chile and meet the need for service technicians to deliver premium service for a premium brand.
“Other markets we are looking at include Brazil or Argentina in South America. Brazil has different voltages and it is a bit like Japan with these problems.
“We have to finance everything ourselves, so we have to take it step by step with one or two new markets a year, then there may be a year where there is nothing. We have limited management capacity and we can’t do everything.
“By limiting our growth by financing it, it is a good way to grow, because you can’t increase your management capacity to open 20 new country subsidiaries. Maybe we can open three as well as possibly India next year – we are fine to do that.
“We know a little bit about these markets, but we don’t know everything. There are different habits in India and South America including the recipes they are cooking, what they are eating and how they are washing.
“But Miele is becoming a worldwide phenomenon – our customers are traveling. They might have experienced Miele in Europe and they have brought it back to their country. A lot of Indians buy their products from Durban in South Africa or from relatives in the UK, but without proper service to back up the products, we will not be a premium brand.”