Despite several challenges caused by the pandemic, the auto sector is getting back to its growth trajectory. During an interaction with Orissa POST, Devjyoti Patnaik, CEO cum MD of Jyote Motors says the industry is showing a ‘V’ shape recovery and it will continue for next two-three years. Excerpts from an interview…

What was the impact of the pandemic on auto sector and its present scenario?

The pandemic affected two-wheelers more than four-wheeler segment.  The lockdown was declared to contain the outbreak of Covid-19. However, we saw there was a gradual rise in demand from July to March, 2021. The auto sector is showing a V shape recovery. People now prefer their own cars to travel because of the pandemic. We witnessed the same mindset in rural markets as well. There is now a boom in demand. But, the demand for the luxury brands has gone down.

Will there be a continual growth in this sector?

See, we saw a distress market in 2019 when GDP was down and later the pandemic hit the market. However, the auto sector has witnessed a growth and I believe it will continue for next two to three years. We also believe, since the auto sector is growing, the country’s GDP will also grow.

Your opinion on the Scrappage Policy

Under the policy, life of a commercial vehicle will be capped at 15 years and private vehicles 20 years. This is a good policy and we were waiting for it to happen. Vehicle owners will now start replacing old cars and the demand for new vehicles will rise in the market. It will help the overall economy.

Is infrastructure ready for CNG and electric vehicles?

For electric vehicles, we have a lot of time. It is just a beginning. Gradually, maybe 5-7 years later, there will be electrification. We need to create good infrastructure and increase the range of electric vehicles. But today CNG is a good option for the vehicle owners to opt for. The Centre and the state government have geared up for this project. We have several CNG stations and there will be more such installations. Petrol and diesel vehicles contribute 98 per cent to sales. But in next two years, CNG will account for 20 per cent of the sale. People now need to be aware of using CNG vehicles; they should feel secure riding a CNG vehicle.

Support of state government

The state government is very supportive. We have businesses in Kolkata and in Odisha. But we feel comfortable in doing business in Odisha. It is an industry-friendly state. Odisha government is providing digital registration of cars in just two days. But our neighbouring states take 7-10 days to do that.

Any suggestion

Auto sector is a capital intensive industry. Auto dealers require big land to set up their servicing centres. The government should come forward and help these dealers by facilitating them with land so that they set up their infrastructure in different locations.

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