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Indian auto, components industry should not de-link completely from imports, says Pawan Goenka

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NEW DELHI: The Indian auto and components industry should not de-link completely from imports as self-reliance is “not about being insulated”, and companies should work harder to boost cost competitiveness, bring technology-led innovation to have greater share in global supply chain, Mahindra and Mahindra Managing Director Pawan Goenka said on Saturday. The auto components industry in India has been growing primarily based on cost competitiveness but the same method will not be able to take it to the next level unless there is investment on technology, technology-led innovation and capacity creation, Goenka said.

“Can we and should we de-link from imports completely? I think not, for both the questions. Neither we can nor we should,” he said while speaking at the annual session of the Auto Components Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA).

Goenka further said, “We will have to continue to import to get things that some other countries can do better than us and that is fine. We don’t have to do everything ourselves. Aatmanirbhar is not about being insulated.”

Interdependence will play an important role in global and domestic economies, he said adding “we should avoid any knee jerk reaction or ask for bans of imports or any such acts”.

Such actions could have repercussions for the industry and retaliations by other countries, he said.

Goenka said to reduce imports and enhance self-reliance, there is a need to look at carefully “what are we importing and why are we importing”.

“There are three reasons for it — cost benefits, capacity constraints in India, and technology and technological advantage,” he added.

Based on Mahindra figures, he said, “My guess is about half of the (components) imports — that is Rs 50,000 crore plus — happens because of lower costs. This needs immediate focus. It is very difficult to believe that India is not capable of producing automotive glass, bearings, castings, gear box parts, and wheel rims at competitive costs and the country needs to import these things. We must understand why?”

OEMS, suppliers and the government of India need to work together to remove the disabilities that India has and get this value added into the country’s factories, Goenka asserted.

He also said an estimated Rs 20,00 crore worth of components out of a total of Rs 1 lakh crore imports are “imported because the other country has better technology capability”.

“I personally don’t mind this as we cannot have technological expertise in everything,” Goenka said, however, adding that it was worrisome that there was very little technological innovation happening in India.

“What is the true R&D spend that Indian components industry is doing and how is it compared to Germany, Korea and Japan?” he asked.

Goenka also pointed out that while many multinational component makers are present in India, not many have set up mother plants that are used for global supplies.

“How many multinational suppliers have set up such mother plants in India, if not why not? What is needed to make India attractive to set up such mother plants for multinationals?” he asked.

Stating that the global geo-political equations are in a flux, he said, the narrative around rethinking the supply chain is a God-sent opportunity for India to integrate much deeper into the global supply chain.

Goenka, however, warned that Indian components industry can no longer depend on cost competitiveness alone to grow future exports, saying with time many emerging economies have caught up on manufacturing capabilities and offer equally or even more cost competitive options.

“The growth story of the auto component industry so far will not take us to the next level. While cost will continue to be important, to really achieve greater global market share we need to invest in technology, technology-led innovation and capacity,” Goenka said.

Stating that the “road to Aatmanirbhar lies in our mind”, he said the industry must believe in itself and the prime minister’s vision and put “our combined mind together, SIAM, ACMA and government of India…to make this vision a reality”, he added.

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GM withdraws support for Trump’s emissions lawsuit against California

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President Donald Trump delivers remarks at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan with General Motors CEO Mary Barra and other auto industry executives on March 15, 2017. 

Nicolas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images

General Motors is withdrawing from litigation led by the Trump administration against California over the state’s right to set its own fuel economy and emissions regulations, distancing itself from President Donald Trump.

In a letter Monday to environmental leaders, GM CEO Mary Barra said the company’s decision to withdraw from the litigation is effective immediately. It follows President-elect Joe Biden’s Nov. 3 election, his support for electric vehicles as well as his call for unity in the country, she said.

“We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the President-elect, California, and General Motors are aligned to address climate change by drastically reducing automobile emissions,” Barra wrote.

By withdrawing, GM is showing support for the incoming administration while distancing itself from Trump, who has publicly praised and condemned automakers during his tenure as commander in chief. GM has plans for a robust portfolio of electric vehicles in the coming years.

The White House did not immediately respond for comment.

Biden is widely expected to drop the litigation against California and allow the state to set its own standards. California was allowed to do so under a 2013 waiver it received under the Clean Air Act. Other states were allowed to adopt those standards as well.

The Detroit automaker along with Fiat Chrysler, Toyota Motor and other smaller automakers initially supported Trump’s efforts in late-2019. Trump at the time was fighting to rollback the Obama administration’s national emissions standards and strip California and other states of the right to set their own vehicle emissions regulations.

Four other major automakers — Ford Motor, BMW, Honda Motor and Volkswagen — reached a deal with California in July to toughen the gas mileage and emissions standards, drawing ire from Trump.

Barra invited other automakers involved in the lawsuit to “join us” and withdraw from the litigation. Fiat Chrysler and Toyota did not immediately have a response to GM’s call to withdraw from the lawsuit.

GM’s decision comes days after the automaker announced plans to spend $27 billion on all-electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, an increase of $7 billion, or 35%, from initial plans announced in March


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Govt plans to set up charging infrastructure across 69,000 petrol pumps

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New Delhi: The government is planning to set up at least one e-charging kiosk at around 69,000 petrol pumps across the country with an aim to accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Monday.

The Road Transport and Highways Minister while addressing a virtual conference said that the government has taken several steps to promote electric vehicles which include reduction in GST to 5 per cent, allowing delinking of battery cost of 2-3 wheelers from vehicle cost as it accounts for nearly 30 per cent of the cost etc.

“Battery charging ecosystem is very important…government is planning set up at least one electric vehicle charging kiosk at around 69 thousand petrol pumps across the country to induce people to go for electric mobility,” the minister was quoted as saying in a release. Stressing that India is poised to become a global automobile manufacturing hub in the next five years, Gadkari asked the automobile industry to push for manufacturing flex engines which have versatility to use petrol or ethanol/CNG as fuels.

“Our auto industry has made significant strides in terms of development of different designs and models, robust R&D, huge market, stable government frame-work and bright and young engineering minds. India already is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world,” he said.


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suzuki v-strom: Suzuki V-Strom 650XT BS6 launched at Rs 8.84 lakh

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NEW DELHI: Suzuki Motorcycle India on Tuesday launched the BS6 variant of V-Strom 650XT ABS at Rs 8.84 lakh (ex-showroom).
The V-Strom 650 XT ABS was showcased at 2020 Auto Expo. Suzuki V-Strom 650 XT ABS is equipped with four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC with 645-cc displacement, 90° V-twin engine.
The motorcycle has adopted the Suzuki Easy Start System enabling a secure and stress-free start with the push of a button. The middleweight adventure tourer comes with a lightweight Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) offering a controlled grip.
V-Strom 650XT’s three-mode traction control system (2 Mode + OFF Mode), ensures superior control over the engine and is effective in difficult road conditions, preventing rear wheel spin.
Koichiro Hirao, Managing Director, Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd. said, “V-Strom has made its own following in India. The ultimate adventure tourer has proved its mettle in the highway touring capabilities while exploring different terrains. It is truly a masterpiece with the ultimate balance provided by the natural riding position, comfortable seat and the flexible engine character. This is our first BS6 compliant big bike and we are confident that this cleaner and greener motorcycle will continue to win people’s hearts with its performance and maneuverability as it hit the Indian roads”.


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