2019 was a hell of a ride for the Indian automobile industry. From allegedly going to the ground to MG and KIA taking the auto market by storm. 2019 has set up an origin story and hopefully, the next year will be bringing a revolution in the industry. Here are 9 best highlights of the Indian automobile industry for the year 2019. Enjoy!
BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) | It’s almost here
The year 2019 saw the setup for next years focus on BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) and Electric vehicles in India. BS6 is probably the most talked-about highlight of the Indian automobile industry. The government passed a BS6 emission norm which will force carmakers to switch to a more environmentally-friendly engine which will be made compulsory from April 1st 2020 in new cars.
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Electric cars also saw a surge in popularity as the government is introducing subsidies to help electric cars be more lucrative than conventional fuels. The changes will be visible from next year and are already confirmed as Auto Expo 2020 is stated to have a lot of electric cars and more BS6 variants are spotted and spied which means the setup of this year would be worth it next year.
The BS6 even though will start from next year, it cast a huge shadow over the automobile industry with most people not buying vehicles in the fear of getting outdated cars which led to the biggest slump in the automobile industry of this decade.
The Indian automobile crisis of 2019
Another highlight of the Indian automobile industry. The year 2019 was one of the most recessive year in the history of the Indian automobile industry in 20 years. With over 2.30 lakh people losing jobs and small companies being shut down. This slump was something we might never get to witness again and will probably be taught in economy lectures in the future.
Companies lost money because of over-saturation. They made too much of something which people didn’t want anymore. So the companies went into defensive mode and started cutting corners to save money which meant mass layoffs and OEM’s being shut down.
The central government had to step in to help the sector but still, nothing happened because it was not the new budget that caused this but the companies brought this on themselves.
However not every company was struck hard by this. Some car manufacturers launched their first models and took off like no one expected in a decaying market.
Kia And MG | The market disruptors
Kia and MG came in the Indian market at a time when it was at its lowest. But when the booking began it gave hope to the sector as it was so much that they had to shut down the booking option because they didn’t have the capability to manufacture so many vehicles.
So, why in the world would two companies which had no hold or any niche in the market come in, get so many people booking that it overwhelms them and deliver on the promise in the coming months?
Something new! Kia and MG brought something new to the market. Smart and secure cars with no features in a market where everything was saturated and stale. These companies were new and people wanted to try something that they haven’t seen yet. Motorheads knew the worth of these companies from following them when they were outside India and now they wanted to get a taste for it.
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Electric cars are the future
India saw its first locally assembled electric car in the likes of Hyundai Kona Electric with more following next year. After the reduced GST on electric cars to 5%, the Central government gave a signal to the electric automobile industry that they picked up.
Kia and MG also bringing an electric car each next year and even companies like Maruti Suzuki will be making EV.
The capital city has also drafted a policy to help push Electric cars into the mainstream. Whether they go mainstream no not is for the future to decide.
BNVSAP (Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program) | Cars getting safer
After having one the highest death due to accidents, India decided to act on it and implement their own crash test safety system called the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP). It will have crash tests, some compulsory changes and safety additions and make companies showcase the crash test results so people can make an informed decision.
This year the first phase of BNVSAP was implemented which made it compulsory for companies to add an ABS in 2 wheelers and Airbags on 4-wheelers. It will continue and get its own crash testing variant from years to come. Know more about #safercarsforindia here.
FASTag for smart toll collection
Fast is another very crucial highlight of the automobile industry in 2019. The very purpose of a FASTag is to smart-fy toll collection. FASTag is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology integrated device used for making toll payments while driving through toll plazas. The money gets deducted directly from the prepaid account linked to it. It saves you from spending a considerable amount of time doing cash transactions. It is affixed on the windscreen of your vehicle/car.
You can add money on your FASTag through credit/debit card and you can even recharge it from Amazon, Paytm and UPI. It notifies you whenever a transaction is made by sending a text message on your registered mobile number that you provide while getting the FASTag.
The pros of FASTag is that it makes the trouble of going through tolls easy. Saving time and not having the trouble to wait in line only to find out the toll plaza operator doesn’t have change.
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Made compulsory from December 15th 2019 the first day saw a lot of confused drivers as they didn’t know what to do. This prompted the government to extend the date and allow cash lanes in toll plaza so people that don’t have FAStag can still go through.
New Joint Ventures
- Mahindra & Ford JV
Mahindra and Ford with Mahindra having 51% stake and ford having 49% it will allow ford branded cars in Indian market helping both Ford and Mahindra. The JV is not yet called but when it does you can expect a lot of new and old vehicles.
- Toyota & Suzuki
Toyota and Suzuki announced some fresh plans which will release new cars. Knowing Toyotas strength in the field of electric and Suzuki’s advantage in compact cars we can expect a lot of new electric compact cars.
Vehicle Scrapping Policy proposal
To curb pollution and battle the slowdown in the automobile sector, the Government of India has proposed and funded a car scrapping policy; known as Vehicle Scrapping Policy. This policy aims at replacing old vehicles from Indian roads. Once a vehicle’s registration certificate expires beyond its operational limit, a user can go to any government-authorised scrapping centre and surrender the vehicle.
The scrapping yards will only be provided to dealers who have at least 1,000 sq yards. The scrapping will be completely non-hazardous and safe and will require CCTV camera installation. The Vehicle Scrapping Policy has been a welcoming highlight of the Indian automobile Industry in 2019.
Diwali cheers up the market
After the automobile industry had a great fall the festive season of Diwali bought Christmas early for the carmakers. Seeing an increase in the festive sale which they haven’t seen in years coming after a slump that shook those companies hard was something they probably never expected in the wildest of their dream.
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The year 2019 in summary
This year saw a tremendous up and down in the roller coaster which is the automobile industry just like life. Like the saying, you have to be pulled back in order to push forward. The worst is behind us and nothing but growth in every sector of the automobile industry is expected from now onwards. The slump was inevitable but the big companies were able to cut corners and not take as much loss as they could have while the smaller companies suffered the worst and a lot of people lost their jobs and livelihood.
Kia and MG showed automakers worldwide that Maruti Suzuki’s monopoly can be broken and sold a number of units no one expected. This may or may not be the reason but next year even more companies are considering India as a market and the more choices available the better it is for us as a consumer because the companies will be forced to outshine each other with new technologies.
2020 | New Year, New Possibilities
The ground for the switch to BS6 and EV vehicles will help reduce pollution and will help the overall growth of automobile as an industry. More EV means easy accessibility as the more charging station will be made available which in turn will make more people shift to EV. BS6 engine even though less polluting than a BS4 is still polluting and a faster switch to EV will be better overall.
Safer cars will also be coming as the BNVSAP will most probably be implemented which will help reduce the car accident deaths and serious injuries numbers even further and allow people to make better choices as they will be more informed about safety features that common people usually don’t know about.
Overall 2019 was both interesting and sad year from mass layoffs to new technologies and a major shift to BS6, 2020 holds a lot of promise and is sure to be another big year but most probably not as big as 2019.