COVID-19 impact on new in-vehicle technologies

In an exclusive interview with Telematics Wire, Manish Patel, CIO, MG Motor India Pvt. Ltd., talks about the COVID-19 impact on automotive sector in India and new introduction of new features in vehicles.

Will pandemic impact the introduction of new technologies in vehicles to be launched in the coming years?

I would say there will be a course correction for newer technologies both from a manufacturing and retail perspective. In fact we would now be looking at technologies which could be more relevant during Pandemics like the recent one. One of the technologies we’re very close to deploying is the contactless delivery of our vehicles to customers from dealerships. Right from booking to selecting accessories to making an online payment to the dealer. Even start-ups would take a breath and would start thinking of newer technologies around automobiles for solutions around pandemics like the recent one.

Do you anticipate reduction in R&D spend in MG at parent company?

Again as I said, we do not intend to reduce the R&D spend at MG. Certainly, there will course corrections towards facilitating more relevant solutions keeping the current Pandemic and any future pandemics in mind.

Will there be a shift in buying patterns/behavior, because of low liquidity in buyers’ hands?

Certainly, there will be a shift in buying pattern / behaviour. I truly believe vehicle sharing, vehicle leasing for a shorter time (e.g. less than 6 months) compared to the standard 3 to 5 years, shift from gasoline or diesel to electric vehicles are all potential of pattern that we could see shift.

Can there be a monitoring system for managing the hygiene/disinfectant in public transport/shared transport?

More so from a public transport system, the entire cycle of people wanting to travel would change. Be it bus or railways or flights. The entire ecosystem or cycle of travel would change. Less and less human intervention can be expected. However, the bigger challenge is how to educate the normal or less or uneducated people?

What policy change can revive the demand for automotive? Will vehicle scrap policy (yet to be announced) be a game-changer in the Indian context?

One possible change would be the shift of customers from gasoline or diesel vehicles to electric. The adoption rate including the cost is challenging from our country perspective. However, if this shift and affordability happen we could see a lot of customers change to electric vehicles. Scrap policy alone is not going to drive the demand for automobiles. Again 80% of vehicles bought in India are financed. Can the loans be made more affordable or a monetary benefit to a person who is owning a vehicle which is 10 years or more is given incentives to shift to a new vehicle.

Published in Telematics Wire

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