Vikram Kirloskar (1958-2022) was an Indian industrialist and the Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor, a joint venture between the Indian conglomerate Kirloskar Group and Toyota Motor Corporation for the manufacture and sales of Toyota cars in India. A pioneer of India’s automotive industry, he played a key role in bringing the Japanese firm Toyota Motor Corp to India in 1997. He was also the Chairman and Managing Director of Kirloskar Systems. On 29 November 2022, he died due to cardiac arrest.
Vikram Shreekant Kirloskar was born in 1958 (age 64 years; at the time of death), and he hailed from Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. He attended the Lawrence School in Ooty, Tamil Nadu. He pursued a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, the alma mater of his grandfather. Thereafter, he received training while working in various capacities in India and US.
Vikram Kirloskar is the fourth-generation member of the Kirloskar Group founded in 1888 by Laxmanrao Kirloskar. The company was the manufacturer of India’s first iron plough in 1888. Since then, the Kirloskar family members have been contributors to India’s growth and industrialisation.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Shreekant Kirloskar, was also an industrialist and a third-generation member of the Kirloskar Group. He was an only child.
Wife & Children
His wife, Geetanjali Kirloskar, is an advertising professional who headed her own firm Quadrant Communications as President. She also set up the insurance services wing of Kirloskar Systems. She is the former chairperson of Bengaluru-based Sakra World Hospital. The hospital was started the hospital in 2013, partnering with Toyota Tsusho, the trading arm of Toyota Group, and Secom Medical System, the medical arm of Japanese security company Secom. It was the first hospital in India to be operated jointly by Japanese and Indian companies.
His daughter, Manasi Kirloskar, is the Executive Director of Kirloskar Systems. Later, she joined the board of Toyota Motors. She is married to Noel Tata’s son, Neville Tata.
Before getting married, Vikram and Geetanjali dated for a while after making an acquaintance at a party. At that time, Geetanjali was 18 and studying at Pune University, while Vikram was 24 and had just returned to India after graduating from MIT. While recalling their first meeting, she said,
A mutual friend had thrown a party. He had invited both of us and our families asked his parents to introduce us to each other. Vikram was from MIT; sober, intelligent and six years older. I was impressed by his charming style.”
After the party, Vikram offered to drop Geetanjali home and she agreed, but instead, he took her to his home. While talking about the same in an interview, she said,
Vikram took me to his home instead; his parents were fast asleep. The next morning, they were amazed I was at their home and wondered whether he had already proposed. But we took our time. What finally worked was the fact that I wanted to study and work after marriage, and Vikram had the same expectations of his partner.”
Vikram Kirloskar belongs to a Maharashtrian Karhade Brahmin family of Laxmanrao Kirloskar, whose father, Kashinathpanth, was a Vedant-Pandit.
In 1981, he began his career when he started working in the manufacturing and automobile industry. He started working in the family business after college, starting with Production Engineering. He was a trainee in manufacturing at Kirloskar Cummins in Pune. Early in his career, he designed and developed many processes and machine tools. In the late 1980s, he was instrumental in establishing the import licensing for capital equipment while serving on the government’s Development Council for Machine Tools. In 1997, the Kirloskar Group and Toyota Motor Corporation established the joint venture Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) with Vikram Kirloskar as its Vice Chairman. The headquarters of the venture is located in Bidadi, Karnataka, near Bengaluru. Apart from that, he was also the Vice Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts. Other private limited companies of the conglomerate Kirloskar Group of which Vikram Kirloskar was a director include Kirloskar Pneumatic, Denso Kirloskar Industries, Kirloskar Toyota Textile Machinery, and Kirloskar Oil Engines. He was also a director of Kirloskar Proprietary Limited, Vikramgeet Investments And Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Global Innovation & Technology Alliance, Quadrant Communications Limited, Asara Sales And Investment Pvt. Ltd, Vsk Holdings Pvt. Ltd, and CSEP Research Foundation. He was also a director of Toyota’s Material Handling and Industries Engine private limited companies.
On 29 November 2022, Vikram Kirloskar died due to cardiac arrest. His death was announced by Toyota Kirloskar Motor saying,
We are extremely saddened to inform the untimely demise of Mr Vikram S. Kirloskar, Vice Chairman, Toyota Kirloskar Motor on 29th November 2022. At this time of grief, we request everyone to pray that his soul rests in peace. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”
- He was a Member of the Education Council for India, the National Research Council – MIT, and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He served as the President of the Central Manufacturing Technology Institute, Bengaluru, and Confederation of Indian Industry from 2019 to 2020.
- He also served on the Government of India Development Council for Automobiles and the National Council for Electric Mobility.
- He served as the Vice President of the Automotive Research Association of India and President of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM)
- His interests include aero modelling, swimming, golf, tennis cooking, painting, sculpture, and Western and Indian classical music.
- He was an ardent wine connoisseur.
- He was a recipient of the Suvarna Karnataka Award.