The automobile sector which has already borne the brunt of Covid-19 pandemic is now facing challenges from fuel price hike that has affected the growth in sales. In a tete-a-tete with Orissa POST, Managing Director of Espirit Toyota Sunil Taneja highlighted several key steps including the new scrappage policy that would cushion the impact of rising petrol and diesel prices. Excerpts…

The pandemic and rising fuel prices have affected sales. Aren’t they?

Yes, of course. The growth in the auto sector is down due to the pandemic. The sales were very low due to the lockdown. On other hand, rising fuel prices is another concern for the sector. The spiraling prices have impacted sales. In fact, prices of all the commodities have gone up after the pandemic. The government could have planned better to introduce eclectic and hybrid vehicles. It could have reduced dependence on fuel. The government should have to be proactive instead of being reactive.

When do you think the sales will bounce back?

We believe normalcy would return very soon. The government has announced the Scrappage Policy which will encourage people to dispose of their old cars. This will also boost the demand in the market. The government should also promote hybrid and EVs to boost its demand. The sales will also increase as the vaccination drive has already started. Also, the pandemic has changed people’s mindset. They now prefer to have their own car instead of depending on cabs.

Are we prepared for EVs and hybrid cars?

See, CNG cars, EVs and hybrid ones will not be 100 per cent feasible now as it will take some time to have the necessary infrastructure in place. But it should start selling. We hope that there will be lot more actions in 2023. If the Centre promotes these vehicles, the sales of EVs and hybrid cars will get a boost. However, this segment will occupy a low market share depending on technology and price. The government has given incentives to EV segment and is active on this count.

Your take on Budget 2021-22?

We are pleased to hear the introduction of the Scrappage Policy. We expected this policy would come much early. However, the central government did not reduce GST. We were hoping for the reduction of GST in this Budget. We are also hoping incentives for hybrid cars as well.

When do you think the Indian economy will get back to normalcy?

Well, the Union and state governments are very cooperative. But I believe the Indian economy will get the necessary boost very soon. There is demand. Also, the government is spending money in every sector and private industries are also pumping in money in their capacity. It will take the next two years.

Follow Us: