The Heat is Off: Kanwaljeet Jawa

25 March, 2021

On paper it’s a sales rep’s dream but in reality, selling air conditioners in India is a trickier undertaking than it seems. For years, India’s air-conditioner market was inscrutable to the big players; by the mid 1980s, high excise and custom duties had turned a tough situation into a nigh impossible one and led to domination by the small-scale industry.

This quick-fix situation was driven by low-cost compressors that were inexpensive to produce but saddled with poor efficiency, leading to the image of Indian cities pockmarked with boxy aircon units hanging precariously from window sills.

Combined with high temperatures that continue to rise year on year, the stagnation of tech was driving the Indian market to boiling point. It wasn’t until the early 90s that a cool change swept in. With duties and regulations eased, industry leaders such as Shriram and Carrier were at last able to make inroads in the Indian market, paving the way for the arrival of Daikin in 2004.

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