New Delhi | Jagran Auto Desk: The coming time in the Indian car market will be of electric and hybrid cars as the damage from diesel and petrol cars to nature has created an alarming situation with several Indian cities becoming the most polluted cities in the world at times.  

In regard of knowing the future of Hybrid and Electric cars in India, Jagran HiTech’s Editor Siddhartha Sharma was joined by Naveen Soni Senior Vice President (Sales & Service), Toyota Kirloskar Motor, in today’s episode of NayaBharat. During the chit-chat, the two discussed the plans of car manufacturers after this pandemic and the future of electric and hybrid cars in India.

Siddhartha Sharma - What was the global impact of Covid-19 and how has it affected the entire automobile industry?

Naveen Soni - In January, no one thought that a situation would arise where the entire office would run from home. Other than IT companies, manufacturing companies will also have to work from. In such a situation, we got to learn about the work from home business. The other thing was to keep us excited by staying connected with the dealers in the Covid-19 era. Many such positive things came out, in which we came to know about contactless business and also learned it. Currently, about 90 per cent of our dealerships have opened. However, the Chennai dealerships are closed. The graph of vehicle servicing has been growing rapidly since the opening of the dealership. At the same time, there are fluctuations in the sale of vehicles. There are three stages of the dealership - Inquiry, Order and Retail, so if we talk about Inquiry, then it has reached the book according to pre-COVID. We are currently reaching 70 per cent in the order stage,

Siddhartha Sharma - In the last financial year, the Indian automotive industry had to face a lot of challenges like shifting from BS4 to BS6 with the economic slowdown. This was followed by the brunt of the Covid-19 epidemic. In such a situation, what kind of strategy will be seen in the automotive industry, which will bring the industry back on track?

Naveen Soni - Business requires three things - speed, expectations and accountability. If you pay attention to these three services, then there will be no problem in bringing the business back again. Speed, expectations and accountability become important in the Covid-19 era. In such a situation, we had made the regional offices of North, South and West a strategic business unit on January 1, 2020, in which steps could be taken for local customers. This strategy has come in handy during the time of Covid-19. Meaning strategic business units will be able to make new rules and regulations on their own. Also, it is easy to keep the dealer with us as they are an important asset for the automobile industry.

Siddhartha Sharma - Toyota company stands at the forefront of hybrid and electric vehicle technology? In such a situation, what new things will we get to see from Toyota? Also, what about Toyota's product lineup?

Naveen Soni - We have been the first innovator of hybrid technology. The company has sold 15 million hybrid technology cars. Also, there is a rapid increase in the acceptance of hybrid technology year after year. Hybrid technology has some advantages - such as customers get increased power of the vehicle as the engine and motor go together. Along with getting good mileage from the vehicle, this technology is also environmentally friendly. There is no sound in the hybrid vehicle. At the same time, the car charges itself while running on fuel. Due to all these features, this technology is quite brilliant. However, there is a demand for improvement in GST structure from the government regarding hybrid technology. The price of hybrid vehicles has increased by 15% due to GST. Because of this, it is no longer as economical for customers. We are not asking the government for any subsidy for hybrids, But just like VAT, they are demanding to levy GST, which will allow the vehicle to be offered at an affordable price point. Toyota first introduced the Camry Hybrid car in India, which was made locally in Bangalore. This car has received quite good responses. If we talk about the electrification of trains, then the future lies with these vehicles. This is because petrol-diesel stocks are limited. In such a situation, a hybrid car is the last solution for a country like India. So the future belongs to these vehicles.

Siddhartha Sharma - Various schemes for SME and MSME have been introduced by the government and the automotive industry works closely with MSME. So what would you say about it?

Naveen Soni - A lot of steps have been taken by the government on time. The government and the Reserve Bank together have taken several decisions to increase liquidity. If we talk about the relief package, then the effects will be seen in the supply. Talking about demand, customers need help, demand will increase, on the other hand, there is liquidity on the demand side from banks and other financial institutions. In such a situation, if these two are combined, then it will have a clear effect on the automotive industry. According to me, the era of subsidy has gone and the era of Create and Cultivate has come.

Posted By: Talib Khan