SIAM Convention: Industry Leaders Discuss The Current Situation And Future Of The Auto Industry

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The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), organized its 59th Annual Convention, titled “Moving into A New Era of Auto Industry”. During the convention, the speakers highlighted how innovation, technological breakthroughs and automation are set to change the future of mobility globally. They deliberated on viable pathways which will lay the groundwork for future mobility and smart manufacturing.

SIAM Convention 2019

However, industry leaders also discussed the current situation where the Indian Auto industry is going through tough times. Talking in the “CEOs’ Panel – Revival of Automotive Industry”, Mr Guenter Butschek, CEO & MD, Tata Motors Ltd, reiterated that government must support the industry by lowering the GST before 20th September so that nobody misses out on potential sales expected during the festive season. Clearing the air around EVs, Mr Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, TVS Motor Company Ltd, said that EVs would not replace combustion vehicles and all kinds of technologies will continue to co-exist – electric, petrol, diesel fuel and others. Dr Pawan Goenka, MD, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, mentioned that auto OEMs should work cohesively in this testing times and urged that govt. and the industry should come together to beat this downturn.

As a representative of the Government, Dr A R Sihag, Secretary, Department of Heavy Industry, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Government of India, commented, “New auto policies are engineered keeping in mind demands of various stakeholders. Extensive discussion on the economic slowdown is impacting consumer sentiments. Even the talk around GST rate reduction will make the customers wait indefinitely which would impact sales. As far as the scrappage policy is concerned, it is under review and the government is laying down the way forward.”


Talking about the future of mobility, Mr John Moavenzadeh, Executive Director – Urban Mobility Professional Education, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Senior Advisor, Deloitte & Founder and Managing Partner, Mobility Nexus LLC, stated, “Digitization and new business model would shift mobility focus from products to service. Consumer behaviour today has shifted from vehicle ownership to pay-per-use models. Shared mobility will dominate the future, while traditional mobility will continue to remain relevant. In the future, mobility will get more integrated– with data at the core of mobility integration powering by mobility data and advanced technologies.”

Mr Vinod Aggarwal, Treasurer, SIAM and MD & CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd, highlighted that the Automobile Mission Plan aimed to propel the auto industry as the primary engine of growth for the ‘Make in India’ program. He also said that in Indian context CASE can have a different connotation which is Clean, Affordable, Safe and Efficient. Mr Rahul Jain, MD & Senior Partner, The Boston Consulting Group, drew a comparison between global perspectives and Indian context saying that current challenges will lead to increased partnerships across government, infrastructure and the overall industry. Mr Martin Peter Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes Benz India Pvt Ltd, spoke on how emerging new trends will impact revenues of companies.

SIAM logo

Mr Gurpratap Boparai, MD, Volkswagen India Pvt Ltd & Skoda Auto India Pvt Ltd opened the floor for discussions around Industry 4.0 by mentioning that this revolution would help bring smart manufacturing. However, there has to be a roadmap which will allow a smooth transition. Prof. B Gurumoorthy, Professor, Indian Institute of Science & Chief Executive, Society for Innovation and Development, said, “Industry 4.0 is about taking the digital world with human element into manufacturing in a more autonomous manner where decisions would be taken by machines based on artificial intelligence.”

Prof. Dr Detlef Zühlke, Executive Chairman, smartfactoryKL e.V. commented that mass customization, regional production, online drivers and immediate delivery system will change the market scenario, “We need a stack of standards which includes interoperability, communication and electromechanical standards. Data is generated in huge amounts today for which AI-driven data analytics is necessary. Today we have comparable products, standards, market pressure and knowledge. We are also dealing with a variety of workforce issues, cybersecurity and legal framework.”

Concluding the 59th SIAM Annual Convention, Mr Rajan Wadhera, President, SIAM and President (Automotive Sector), Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd said, “Department of Heavy Industry needs to anchor the auto sector at present. A single decision-making body should be formed for the auto sector on the lines of NAB.” He thanked the Secretary that Government is actively considering scrappage policy. Summarising the key highlights by the speakers today, he said, “Automation and innovative solutions will result in smart manufacturing. We should also be mindful that the 4th revolution of the industry shouldn’t reduce jobs. The industry needs to recover faster before BSVI kicks in which will have its own challenges on sales. Further, we will continue the dialogue with the government on GST reduction.”

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