SIAM’s 63rd convention had some interesting panel discussions where the focus was largely on sustainability. The fact that this was happening almost immediately after the G20 summit meant that the themes were in sync in terms of clean fuels etc.
Shailesh Chandra, Vice President of SIAM and Managing Director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, moderated the discussion on ‘Balancing Growth Aspirations with Sustainability’.
Kamran Rizvi, Secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries, said that given the ever increasing incentives being provided by the Centre for electric vehicles at a time when China, the UK and Europe were withdrawing subsidies, Indian companies “should now become global leaders in electric”. He asked automakers to launch campaigns on lowering the total cost of ownership of EVs, which would prompt more buying.
Anurag Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, said the e automotive industry should prioritise quality, sustainability, safety and research on high-end technologies as integral components of their business operations. He added that to have a sustained scrapping and recycling ecosystem, the right infrastructure had to be in place for vehicle testing and scrapping facilities.
Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director (Auto & Farm Sectors), Mahindra & Mahindra, KN Radhakrishnan, Director & CEO, TVS Motor Company and Baba Kalyani, Chairman & Managing Director, Bharat Forge also participated in this discussion.
The second plenary session saw Vinod Aggarwal, President of SIAM and Managing Director & CEO of Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles, drove home the point that with increased focus on sustainability, the key to growth for the auto industry “lies in the adoption and promotion of clean-energy vehicles”. This meant adopting other powertrains, including eco-friendly flex-fuels.
Guenther F. Apfalter, President of Magna Europe & Asia, gave a presentation on fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles from a European perspective. He spoke of the evolving landscape of powertrains in Europe and the importance of clean and efficient mobility solutions.
Suani Coelho, Professor, Institute of Energy and Environment and Coordinator of the Research Group of Bioenergy, University of São Paulo, shed light on Brazil’s pioneering role in sustainable transportation through biofuels.
Ashim Sharma, Senior Partner & Group Head of Business Performance Improvement Consulting (Auto, Engg. & Logistics) at Nomura Research Institute, dwelt on sustainable mobility learnings from Japan. His presentation highlighted Japan’s leadership in shaping the future of transportation. Andreas Tschiesner, Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company, presented a global perspective on material circularity.
At the valedictory session, Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and Textiles, said, 'Democracy, demographic dividend, and diversity are the three D’s propelling the automobile industry onto the fast lane. We must encourage significant investment in electronic components and products made in India, boost R&D within our nation, and nurture domestic industries. We must also reduce our dependence on imports and should rather trust our localised capabilities within our own ecosystem.”
Dr Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Steering Committee on Advancing Local value-add & Exports (SCALE), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, said, “Indian automotive industry has long embodied self-reliance, and has been working for very long towards being Aatmanirbhar. Currently, we are the world's third-largest automobile market and India has clear advantages in terms of its demographics, geopolitical positioning, and now, with our success at the G20. With being one of the largest markets, it is pertinent that efforts be placed to increase automotive exports, and for that, we need a dedicated task force that should work towards this goal. While we have come a long way in the domain of localisation, true progress for the sector will be driven by the export market.”