Mr. KK Gandhi, an auto and fuel expert with over 5 decades of experience, shares his thoughts on some of the challenges associated with India’s emergence as the world’s 3rd largest Passenger Vehicle Market.
Q 1. India is expected to emerge as the world’s third-largest passenger- vehicle market by 2020. It took India around seven years to increase annual production to four million vehicles from three million. However, the next milestone—five million—is expected in less than five years. Are we driving on the right track?
Mr. K. K. Gandhi: The projections are based upon the current growth trends and are achievable provided there are no major hiccups in the policy frame work.
Q 2. What challenges and opportunities do you foresee in the achievement of the above target?
Mr. K. K. Gandhi: The twin challenge before the industry to achieve the above target would be worsening air quality and growing congestion on roads. The industry is already committed to introducing BS VI (Euro VI) complaint vehicles from April 2020. The challenge is that along with meeting the stringent emission norms the passenger cars must also meet the fuel efficiency regulations. The next stage of the same is notified from April 2022. However, the Government is considering further tightening the same from the notified value of 113 gm / km to about 105 gm / km. The same would be a big challenge for the Industry as frontal crash, pedestrian standards would be also come into the picture. The Government is also considering introducing ESC as standard. Further the Government is also looking at introducing the WLTP driving cycle which is more stringent in comparison the current modified Indian Driving cycle.
Taking all these challenges into consideration will have an impact on the acquisition cost, thereby, impacting the growth rate.
Q 3. You feel that congestion is one of the biggest challenges threatening the sustained growth of the Indian Auto Industry. What are some innovative actions that you feel can be taken to deal with this menace while at the same time maintaining the upward growth curve for the auto industry?
1 ) The congestion on Indian roads is due to encroachment and lack of enforcement and use of intelligent traffic management tools.
2 ) It is the biggest threat as the policy makers have started thinking in the direction of restricting the number of vehicles like Singapore, road pricing, hiking parking charges etc. This would lead to growth of shared mobility and impacting the growth of private cars.
Q 4. You are part of the panel discussion on impact of regulatory trends on the Indian PV industry at the Passenger Vehicle Forum, can you give us a sneak peek into some of the insights you will be sharing?
Mr. K. K. Gandhi: I will be sharing my thoughts on providing sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility solutions for the masses and will touch base on the points mentioned above.