Do you think India is the next automotive superpower? What role do SMEs have to play in this?
I think India has tremendous potential to become an automotive superpower. The demand for automobiles – especially EVs – is growing day by day. This surge in demand is great for the growth of the auto sector and allows SMEs to enter the market. SMEs are the backbone of the Indian economy, and not only can they help bridge the demand-supply gap but they can also make us ‘self-reliant’.
Automotive is one of the core sectors of the Indian economy. How are the automotive companies in India setting the trajectory for India's overall growth? What are the imperatives for the industry?
The automobile industry contributes to 6.4% of India's GDP, 35% of manufacturing GDP, provides over 8 million jobs directly (OEMs, suppliers & dealers) & around 30 million more in the value chain. If we look at the last 10 years, it has invited a total investment of $35 billion. It also generates export revenue of $27 billion – approximately 8% of the total merchandise exports from India. Many people are getting interested in owning a hassle-free, eco-friendly, economical vehicle. Needless to say, the future of the automobile industry is electric, and the manufacturers who want a stake in the future should keep their focus on it.
How can India become influential in terms of EVs with robust vehicles and changes in the ecosystem?
Indian climatic conditions and terrain are among the most unforgiving when you compare them with other countries. To create a vehicle that can withstand such conditions, the manufacturer has to focus on delivering excellent build quality and performance. Now that customers have become techsavvy as well, they want all the new features in their vehicles, which is another thing manufacturers have to consider. Given the fact that Indians are obsessed with mileage and rightly so, we have to create compact yet powerful batteries that can last long without having to charge often.
The mobility landscape will fundamentally transform over the next 10 to 15 years, with the ACES (autonomous driving, connected cars, electrified vehicles and shared mobility) trends. What opportunities does this evolving landscape present to the Indian automotive industry? How does it help it gain a competitive advantage?
When we’re talking about ACES, the possibilities are endless. Autonomous driving and connected cars can significantly reduce road accidents, which would be a major win. Electric vehicles are not only helping us to tighten the leash on air pollution but they are extremely economical as well. This is a major plus point for Indian customers, given how petrol prices are rising day by day.
The Indian automobile sector is standing on the cusp of a revolution that has the potential to change the landscape of the transportation industry and we are fortunate to be living in this transition phase. These are technologies of the future, and by investing in them now, automobile manufacturers in India can cement their position in the brave new world that awaits us.
What does India in 2022 look like for the automotive sector, according to you? What strategies have to be instilled to ensure your organisation is a key contributor to the Indian economy?
Undoubtedly, we will see a whole lot of electric vehicles on the road – both two-wheelers and four-wheelers. Also, given the fact that the government is paying attention to building a nationwide EV charging infrastructure, more and more people will get encouraged to invest in EVs.
What we need to ensure is that we deliver on our promise of offering unparalleled mileage without sacrificing power, style or features. In fact, it may be time for us to go a step further and offer features that haven’t been seen in petrol or diesel-based vehicles.