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Auto component industry seeks long term roadmap for regulatory changes

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NEW DELHI: The auto component industry is seeking a “breather” in terms of introduction of new regulations and a long-term roadmap for rolling out new norms for the sector in order to prepare accordingly for the transition which entails heavy investments, industry body ACMA has said.

The industry, which accounts for around 2.3 per cent of the country’s GDP, has been struggling of late due to a prolonged downturn in the auto industry as a whole and due to COVID-19 situation which has brought in supply chain issues and impacted productivity.

In an interview with PTI, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) President Deepak Jain said that challenging business environment has limited the capacity of the industry to invest further for any new regulations.

“During the shift from BS-IV to BS-VI the auto industry invested close to Rs 80,000 crore, 40-50 per cent of which was by the auto component industry.

Going forward such regulations will keep on coming so we have asked for a breather as an industry to recalibrate what are the most requisite regulations,” Jain said.

The industry, which provides employment to around 50 lakh people, said it also seeks a long-term (10-15 years) roadmap for the rollout of regulations so that it can prepare accordingly for the transition, he added.

“Investment ability of auto component industry has reduced significantly because of the downturn in the market and then, of course, COVID situation,” Jain said.

He added that with the current volatile situation, bringing stability to the sector remained one of the most critical aspects.

“I think fundamentally we need stability, there has been too much of disruption. We need to bring the industry to stabilise and post that we need to look at initiatives that are sustainable to make us stronger and stable for the future and this can only happen through very strong collaboration across all the stakeholders of the ecosystem,” Jain said.

Jain noted that initiating steps to boost demand as well as ensuring supply chain across the country were critical steps to ensure long term sustainability of the automobile industry.

“Even today supply chains are struggling. We are not able to cater to even muted demand. The Government needs to clearly look at it holistically and balance both demand and supply looking at the importance of the auto sector in the country,” he added.

If the Indian economy has to grow back, the auto sector will play an extremely vital role, Jain noted.

He added that various industry verticals like SIAM, ACMA, FADA among others and government would have to come together and collaborate in order to achieve future targets like becoming self-reliant in terms of various auto components.

Jain said as the industry has long-standing expectations from the government to bring demand boosters, ranging from tax realisation to priority lending status, even the government has expectations from the industry in terms of enhancing exports and ensuring localisation.

“There is a need to meet expectations of both sides and move together to ensure that bigger agenda of taking India forward is achieved,” he noted.

Jain, who has been elected for a two-year term, completed his first year as ACMA President earlier this month. Successful transition to BS-VI regime and facing COVID-19 induced lockdown were some of the major challenges which the industry faced last year, he noted.

The government took various steps to ease business environment, Jain said.

“However, where the expectation was short was basically to give direct incentives to boost the demand,” he added. Last fiscal, the auto component industry reported a turnover of Rs 3.49 lakh crore (USD 49.2 billion), registering a de-growth of 11.7 per cent over 2018-19.

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Maruti Suzuki’s premium hatchback Swift India’s ‘best-selling’ car model in 2020

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New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki India on Saturday said its hatchback Swift has emerged as the best selling car model in India in 2020 with 1,60,700 units. In 2020, the model has also crossed the cumulative sales milestone of 23 lakh units since its launch in 2005. It crossed the 5 lakh milestone in 2010, 10 lakh in 2013 and 15 lakh in 2016, the company said in a statement.

Commenting on the milestone, Maruti Suzuki India Executive Director (Marketing & Sales) Shashank Srivastava claimed that “Swift has been the best-selling premium hatchback in the country for the past 15 years with over 2.3 million delighted customers.”

He further said, “Despite the adverse impact of COVID-19, brand Swift sold over 1,60,700 units in CY 2020, emerging as the top brand in the pecking order.”

The company said more than 53 per cent of Swift customers are below the age of 35 years, thus establishing the model as “the ‘coming of the age’ car with its tech-savvy features, value-for-money offerings and sporty design”.


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Tata Motors launches i-Turbo petrol variant of premium hatchback Altroz

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New Delhi: Tata Motors on Saturday launched the i-Turbo petrol variant of its premium hatchback Altroz at an introductory price increment of Rs 60,000 above the existing petrol variants of the model. The company has also added a new top of the line XZ+ variant in petrol and diesel fuel options to the Altroz range. It is priced at Rs 8.26 lakh for the petrol variant and Rs 9.46 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) for the diesel option.

The Altroz i-Turbo is launched at an introductory ex-showroom price increment of Rs 60,000 above the Altroz Revotron petrol variants, the company said in a statement.

At present, the petrol variants of the Altroz are priced between Rs 5.7 lakh and Rs 8.86 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

The i-Turbo variant of the Altroz comes with iRA-connected car technology which has 27 connected car features along with natural voice tech, through which the car understands commands not only in English or Hindi, but also in Hinglish, Tata Motors said.

The car is powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged BS-VI petrol engine delivering power of 110 PS at 5,500 rpm.

Commenting on the launch, Shailesh Chandra, Tata Motors President – Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, said since the launch in January 2020, in FY21, the company’s market share in the hatchback category has increased by 5.4 per cent compared to last fiscal.

“…we have captured 17 per cent market share in the premium hatchback segment. We are confident that the new Altroz range will cater to the evolving needs of the Indian customer, all while creating benchmarks in the segment,” he added.

The Altroz is the first product on the ALFA architecture and the company has sold more than 50,000 Altroz within its first year of launch.


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Tesla sues former employee for allegedly stealing software code

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Vehicles pass the Tesla Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, California, U.S., on Monday, May 11, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tesla is suing a former employee and software engineer named Alex Khatilov, alleging trade secret theft and breach of contract.

In the complaint, the company accuses Khatilov of grabbing code and files from WARP Drive, a back-end software system that Tesla developed to automate a range of business processes involved in manufacturing and selling its cars. They also accuse him of deleting possible evidence when security teams confronted him.

Khatilov was hired to help Tesla’s Quality Assurance team create software that could automate tasks or business processes related to Environment, Health and Safety.

The complaint says he began working for Tesla on December 28, 2020, and almost immediately began uploading files and scripts (written in a programming language called Python) to his Dropbox account. Tesla confronted him about his alleged theft on January 6th.

The code is of concern to Tesla because it could reveal to competitors “which systems Tesla believes are important and valuable to automate and how to automate them – providing a roadmap to copy Tesla’s innovation,” the complaint says.

This isn’t the first time that Tesla has sued or accused ex-employees of trade theft. Tesla sued Guangzhi Cao for copying Autopilot source code to his personal accounts and devices in late 2018. That case is still ongoing.

The company also sued former employees who wound up at other electric and autonomous vehicle businesses, Rivian and Zoox, over alleged theft of intellectual property.

Tesla revealed in the new complaint on Friday that only 40 people of about 50,000 total employees work on the company’s Quality Assurance team that hired Khatilov. The company also says it has spent an estimated “200 man-years of work” to develop the code in question.

The case is here:


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