Guest Column: N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor
The auto industry in India has been a star performer and has been growing consistently over the years. The industry is on the brink of a major revolution dotted with challenges and we need to tackle those head on to script a bigger and sustainable growth story for one of the fastest growing major global auto markets Our regulatory environment has been transitioning over the past few years. We have been bracing ourselves with the roll-out of regulatory / policy changes like leapfrog to BS VI, Café norms, Safety requirements to align the auto sector with the global trends. These initiatives are indeed a positive step, which will immensely benefit the end consumers however these is likely to have cost implications to end consumer. As OEMs look out to develop alternate mobility technologies, the future market demands and production plans, need to be aligned. A clear long-term road map needs to be laid out which will be hugely beneficial to manufacturer to align and plan activities in advance to bring in appropriate changes in product and technologies as per the regulatory timeline.
While we as a company are ready to migrate to BS VI as per April 2020 deadline, one-time incentive in the form of tax rebates for replacing older vehicles would go a long way in reducing the pollution levels in the country. Replacement of aged vehicles (7 years plus) is the need of the hour. Safety is also a concern with older vehicles, which are prone to cause accidents on the roads as they not equipped with latest safety features.
While we promote cleaner technologies with technology agnostic approach with alternate powertrains to meet the customer preferences & market requirements. Slashing of GST rates on hybrid vehicles can help influence customer mindset to migrate towards alternative sources of mobility, which would also be a step forward towards a cleaner, greener and a sustainable future.
Special incentives by the government on hybrid vehicles will also help boost sales and improve customer sentiments. Thanks to GST coming in, rather than the current system of multiple tax slabs for different vehicles. Uniformity in taxation is, I feel, the way forward for the industry and also for the economic growth of the country. Standardization of the road tax would be a great move by the government so that finally the customer is benefitted by ‘On road, one price’ across the country.
The government should encourage all kinds of new, progressive technology by incentivizing companies to invest heavily on R&D activities. While today the consumers are well read and informed, we as car makers should be able to offer them the best of technology and competitive prices.
The-to-be announced FAME II Scheme by the Government is another step towards clean mobility in the future. Policies encouraging clean mobility is an impetus to mass adoption of vehicles having zero effect on the environment would be a big step towards a cleaner environment and more sustainable future.
The automotive industry is a large employer in many local economies. A lot of countries are building regulatory frameworks that encourage manufacturing & exports. These and other potential regulatory changes are therefore particularly relevant to auto industry. A clear and long-term roadmap and stable regulatory framework helps to develop viable manufacturing strategies to give further boost to the nation’s growth and align with the ‘Make in India’ initiative. While automakers are playing a leading role in the sustainable revolution, which is already underway, we believe that consumer demand will continue to direct the industry towards cleaner and safer cars which will eventually benefit our country immensely from a short to long term perspective.