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Roadmap to augment localisation and harness export potential of the Indian auto industry

The SIAM convention was titled Re-Building the Nation, Responsibly

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SIAM, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, Re-Building the Nation, Responsibly, Dr Pawan Goenka, Mahindra & Mahindra, Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Deepak Jain, ACMA, Lumax Industries

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), hosted its 60th Annual Convention virtually today, titled “Re-Building the Nation, Responsibly”. During the convention, the panelists spoke about possible ways that can help in fostering increased localization in the Indian Automobile Sector, improve ease-of-doing business scenario in the country and the steps that are to be undertaken to create ‘Brand India’, so as to harness the country’s export potential. They deliberated on viable pathways which will lay the ground work for a truly Atmanirbhar automotive sector.

Applauding the government’s Atmanirbhar Bharat mission, Dr Pawan Goenka, Past President, SIAM and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, commented, “The auto industry today is a shining example of Atmanirbhar Bharat. Apart from the last year, the sector has been growing at 16% CAGR over the last 25 years and that is truly an impressive number to reckon with. The sector has made sizeable investments in R&D and currently employs around 37 million people in the entire value chain. Going forward, we will look at augmenting our exports, reduce imports, create more jobs and up our investments in R&D. In the automotive components space, our imports are to the tune of 1 Lac crore and we are looking at reducing the number in 4- 5 years. For this to happen, we need to rethink, re-strategize, reorganise and implement steps such as reducing current logistics costs, relaxing duties and taxes, entering into FTAs and similar other trading pre-requites with bigger automobile markets.”

Talking about numbers, Dr. Goenka, added “India is currently the largest exporter to Central and South America. 40% of our export volume currently goes to these markets, followed by central and East Africa. However, it is important to note that, exports now accounts for 16% of our total output, which indicates a lot of room for expansion.”

Praising the automobile industry’s resilience, adaptability and innovation potential, Guest of Honour, Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Government of India, commented that, in order to produce world class export-fit products indigenously, “We need to build global scale plants in the auto sector that are at par with international standards. We should aim at improving the scale and quality of what we are producing and export it to the rest of the world. The key is to create a sustainable value chain.”

Also, talking from a demand perspective, Mr. Goyal, commented, “In the COVID 19 era, we have seen the demand for shared mobility fizzing away, which was once the talk of the town. Current trends indicate that people will continue to buy cars, try out self-drive, autonomous and EVs, and therefore, as a corollary, the automobile sector’s health would eventually improve. We are a listening Government and we will continue to do all that we can to help the auto-industry. We will also look at devising innovative models to boost exports. Some of these that are currently prevalent include, the credit guarantee model, creating automotive hubs and clusters, partnering with States to make land availability easier, and adopt a more competitive approach to domestic manufacturing.”

On increased localisation in the automotive segment, Mr. Goyal opined that, “Best-in-class make and design, use of innovative technologies, smart packaging and intelligent product pricing can go a long way in fetching desired results.  Skilling is another aspect that needs to be looked into, if we are to ace in domestic manufacturing. Upskilling and reskilling should be treated as a priority and an industry-academia partnership is one of the best available models to achieve this goal.”

Applauding, Mr. Wadhera for his exemplary leadership and steering the industry amidst these turbulent times, Mr. Deepak Jain, President, ACMA and Chairman and Managing Director, Lumax Industries, while summing up the session stated ‘’I have personally witnessed many marathon meetings across many industry sectors and Government on localisation. I am also very grateful to Piyush ji for recognising the auto component industry as a champion sector that maximises its potential in exports.”

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