Point # 8
In the late seventies, there was a craze for foreign goods. A lot of workers were coming back to
India (mainly Kerala) after working in the Middle East for a few years. They were allowed to bring
back goods used by them under T.R. (Transfer of Residence). In order that they might make some
money by selling foreign stuff, each one of them started getting 2 air-conditioners (some used, some new also). Most of these were General and along with the logo in front these units came to be popularly
known as "OG". The name has stuck.
Many machines were brought to Chennai too for re-sale. Machines were available in Burma Bazaar too.
The popular brands were OG, National, Sanyo....
The AC&R shops found that they could make some extra money by checking these machines, repairing/polishing them (to look like new!) and selling them for some profit.
This period marks the beginning of the end for AC&R shops, because they were lured into selling
machines for profit rather than concentrate on their core strength of repairing!!
In the late eighties CARRIER entered India setting up a plant in Gurgaon.
Subsequently National set up a factory in Chennai. They completely toppled the market! They were given a five year tax holiday and they were among the first to offer a five-year warranty on the compressor.
We had put up a fabulous plant for manufacturing heat-transfer coils (condensor and evaporator coils)
but could not take it forward for a lot many reasons. We had ideas of selling these to manufacturers.
I was surprised when one day two executives from National landed up in my office telling me that they
had spare capacity for manufacture of coils and whether I would be interested in buying! How the cart had turned!! (Later the National factory was shut down).
Now you can very well imagine the scenario...
(Inputs from readers are welcome)
To be continued.....