The vice chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Vikram Kirloskar—who was last seen publicly in Mumbai for the launch of the Toyota Innova Hycross— passed away on Tuesday evening. Vikram Kirloskar was scheduled to attend media test drives of the new Innova Hycross on Wednesday.
The 64-year-old Vikram was the fourth-generation member of the Kirloskar Group that started in 1888 and is credited with getting Japanese auto giant Toyota to India in the late 1990s. Kirloskar, who liked to describe himself as a passionate engineer had ignited Karnataka’s automobile manufacturing industry and is known for negotiating tax-breaks with the state government. For this, he was also recognized by the government and presented with the ‘Suvarna Karnataka’ award. Vikram is credited for adding thousands of skilled jobs in Karnataka too.
Beyond automobiles, he also led the group’s partnership in several ventures with the Japanese conglomerate in textile machinery, insurance, real estate and healthcare. Known to be an avid golfer, a tennis player and a swimming enthusiast, he believed in an essential work-life balance.
He was also deeply passionate about climate change. “It is a critical strategic requirement that businesses must address at all cost, as a collective responsibility,” he had tweeted a few days back.
The fourth-generation scion of 134-year-old Kirloskar Group had a mechanical engineering degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US. He was also a former CII President and a former President of Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
The government and industry leaders took to social media platform Twitter to express their condolences. Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh wrote, “Vikram Kirloskar & I shared a close personal relationship for over 35 years. I recall the many times we talked about Indian machine tool & auto industry especially. It was always an education for me. He had varied interests but he was an engineer to the core having studied at MIT.”
CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank Uday Kotak wrote, “Very sad to lose my friend Vikram Kirloskar. He had world class vision to bring the best to India. A clear mind and a great heart. We also worked together at CII leadership. We are with you, Geetanjali and Manasi.”
“Vikram Kirloskar's sudden passing away is a shock and a great loss to industry in India Few business persons possessed his qualities of leadership, compassion and genuine friendship His contribution to the automobile industry will be remembered forever I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughter and the other members of his family,” former finance minister and Rajya Sabha MP P Chidambaram wrote.
Vikram Kirloskar is survived by his wife Geetanjali Kirloskar and their only child Manasi Kirloskar. Manasi is married to Neville Tata—whose father Noel Tata and Ratan Tata are half-brothers. She sits on the board of a number of group companies. Last year, Manasi Tata was appointed as a member of the Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) board of directors.
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