ARVIND KAPUR, MD & CEO, Rico Auto
How do you see the automotive industry progressing in India?
Automobiles have a strong aspirational value attached to them that encourages automakers to keep innovating and offer the best, in terms of quality and technology. Sales figures might fluctuate due to the economy witnessing ups and downs over a period of time, but people have an inherent affinity towards vehicles.
This year should be a good year for the automotive industry unless there is a global collapse or downturn, as I do not see any negative sentiments affecting the market. The sector is turning competitive with every passing day and that provides us the opportunity to innovate our products and services as per customer requirements. I expect the demand scenario to remain robust across product segments this year.
What are your expectations from Auto Expo 2018?
It is important to have such exhibitions, as it is a great opportunity for both manufacturers and customers to interact and also understand about technology, quality, availability and price all under one roof. The expo also provides an understanding of key industry trends and direction in which the industry is progressing.
Whenever we have exhibited at the Auto Expo, we have witnessed enthusiasm from institutional and individual buyers for our products. The expo also enables us to see as well as understand the technology offered by other manufacturers, which helps gauge the market sentiment. This enables us to take more informed investment decisions in our business.
How do you perceive the mobility landscape evolving in India?
The Indian automotive market is expected to exhibit trends in accordance with the global scenario. The government’s target to go all-electric appears quite challenging. By 2030, we do not want to be caught up in a situation where lack of infrastructure results in the malfunctioning of the entire value chain. While it’s a welcome move, I believe India would be able to achieve 15-25 % of electric mobility by 2030. We have been engaged in talks with suppliers and OEMs globally, and all are of the opinion that this is an achievable number.
The EV space has been witnessing a lot of activity but we are yet to see clarity regarding the volumes the industry plans to achieve. There are also quality concerns that are yet to be addressed. Customers expect ICE vehicles to be equipped with certain quality and safety features. It remains to be seen how EV manufacturers will provide similar levels of quality without prices going up.
How do you see the implementation of BS-VI norms?
BS-VI is a reality that most OEMs and component manufacturers have accepted and are well on their way to turn it into a reality. Fuel companies are also upbeat about the deadline and we expect to have the entire BS-VI ecosystem in place even before 2020.
Our challenge is the huge investments injected in creating BS-VI infrastructure, and the move to go all-electric as per the stipulated timeline will create a great deal of uncertainty among stakeholders, as it might be difficult to recover the cost involved. However, the government is adopting a practical approach towards the same and the industry is hopeful about the future