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Indian car market recovering faster than expected post Covid: Toshihiro Suzuki


MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Toshihiro Suzuki, president of Suzuki Motor Corporation says the automotive industry is ‘recovering faster than expected’ on account of pent up demand and the need for personal mobility over public transportation post lifting lockdown in May.

While the short term recovery is a positive sign, Suzuki however added that the mid-term forecast of India touching 10 million cars by 2030 will be pushed by ‘a few more years’.

The Indian automotive market is set to post its second consecutive year of a significant decline with the first quarter witnessing over 75% drop in demand due to the lockdown post Covid-19, this is after the market slipped by 18% in FY-20.

Giving his address at the 60th edition of Automotive Component Manufacturers Association annual session, Suzuki asserted, “The economic prospect of India in the mid-term appears to be promising. The Government of India has taken an ambitious target to make India $5 trillion coming in next few years. This definitively means growth in the manufacturing sector and the automotive sector.”

Toshihiro Suzuki’s father – Osamu Suzuki, the chairman of Suzuki Motor Corporation in a separate video address assured that the Group will make the best efforts to recover the production and sales to the normal level of before pandemic. He spoke in Japanese, with English subtitles.

Underscoring the close bound Suzuki shares with India, the 90 years old chairman showed the gathering of over 1000 participants at ACMA’s annual convention, ‘a rakhi’ shared with him by the Ambassador of India in Tokyo.

“I wanted to show you a gift that I recently received from India through the Ambassador of India at Tokyo. It is a beautiful rakhi. Cherishing the family bond with you, we would like to Promote Make in India and Atma Nirbhar Bharat together,” he said.

Along with the Government’s push for Make in India, Toshihiro Suzuki reiterated the company’s clarion call to the vendors of ‘Quality in India’ to compete at a global stage.

“Few years back our chairman had shared from Make in India, we should also work towards ‘Quality in India’ to compete in the global market and to attract global customer is very important, all of you focus on building quality in India, then only India will be able to beat others on world platform.” he reminded.

The global head of Suzuki is of the opinion that India’s image of a small car exports hub is set to accelerate further under the leadership of PM Modi and it will open up more growth opportunities for the auto component fraternity.

In line with the government’s push for self reliance or Atmanirbhar Bharat, Suzuki urged vendors to localise more aggressively and with “the quality” to capitalise on the emerging exports opportunity.

“The Indian auto component industry imports a significant volume of components and raw material from overseas countries. Earlier, the volumes in India were less and localization at times was not viable, however, in the current scenario and seeing the future prospects, localizing in India is viable, it’s also in line with Prime Minister Modi’s direction of Make in India and Atma Nirbhar India,” said Suzuki.

He called upon the vendors to collaborate, aggressively localize components, raw material, tools and dyes and machines and equipment, which will go a long way in improving ‘the competitiveness of the Indian industry both domestically and also in the global market.’

Suzuki stated with the regulatory environment in India being aligned to global norms and the Indian customer being exposed to the global standards and features, the auto component industry in India is entering a ‘new phase’ in terms of adoption of new technologies to realize the ambition of graduating from ‘build to print to art to part.’

Credited for developing the Indian passenger vehicle market over the last three decades, Suzuki yet again urged its vendors – to take a long term call for the next 10-15 years and walk that path.

Suzuki emphasised that component manufacturers must put much greater focus on R&D to generate intellectual property in India and in the process create greater returns on cost.

“To make India an attractive destination for investment to realize the ambitious growth prospects, the industry also needs to nurture human resources, who can come up with ideas and make action as well as make a working environment to motivate employees to prepare and manage such growth,” he added.

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