The Federation of Automobile Dealership Association (FADA), the apex body of the Indian auto dealer fraternity, hosted the second edition of Vyapar in Mumbai yesterday. The event saw participation from dealers from across the country.
The event’s theme, ‘Are Indian businesses ready for the changing times?’ was essentially to address current and future challenges of the industry.
Inaugurating the session, John Paul, president, FADA, assured dealers that despite the turbulent times and many challenges witnessed by the industry, the apex body "will always be at the forefront and act as a facilitator, playing the role of the seatbelt to protect the interest of the industry."
Electric vehicles (EVs) which are fast becoming the talk of the town will also bring their own set of challenges. Paul asserted, “It (EVs) will play a central role, leaving internal combustion engines obsolete, but the industry can move forward by intelligently optimising itself to cater to the needs of the future.”
Ashok Khanna, group head, vehicle loans, HDFC, said: “By 2020 vehicle penetration in India will reach 50 percent albeit on a low base.”
The dealer members present at Vyapar Mumbai unanimously agreed that adoption of EVs is in the interest of the country, but would require more clarity. Nevertheless, they are optimistic that the government will come out with clarifications to set the way forward. But there were questions aplenty on existing petrol and diesel vehicles. Will they be completely scrapped? Will the government come out with vehicle scrapping machinery? Will the tax charter be in sync with EV growth?
The first keynote speaker, Major General (retd) GD Bakshi shared his thoughts on the similarity between war and businesses. He said, “Strategy, opposition, competition - that’s what’s common between what military does and the dealer industry. The idea is to plan beforehand, coordinate efficiently and execute fast.”
Nikunj Sanghi, president, Automobile Skills Development Corporation (ASDC) took the floor as the moderator for the first panel discussion on ‘Are Indian businesses ready for the changing times?’. This session comprised a mix of leaders sharing their experiences and insights on the challenges and opportunities in the Indian market. The panel consisted of Shweta Shalini, spokesperson BJP Maharashtra; S Mahalingam, VC, DHFL Pramerica; Anand Neelkanthan, author, Bahubali Trilogy; and Rahul Pandit, MD and CEO, Ginger Hotels.
Addressing the gathering Dr Anil Lamba, author and finance expert, spoke on the cost of capital and financial management that makes or breaks businesses. He took the audience on an introspective session that would enable them to better streamline their investments and balance sheets.
The keynote session was followed by the second panel discussion on ‘Future of mobility – Journey of Automobiles to the next generation’, saw participation from Mohit Arora, partner, Mondiraan Group; Vinkesh Gulati, secretary FADA; J Padmanabhan, practice leader, CRISIL; and Kashyap Chanchani, managing partner, TRMG.
The discussion saw a mix of opinions on how EVs would shape the coming years for automobile dealers. The panelists agreed that the changing scenario will see a new trend in urban India, which has been set into motion by the introduction of shared mobility. But at the same time new growth would come from Tier 2, Tier 3 and other parts of the country.
Most of the speaker agreed upon the fact that dealerships would need to start working towards the future, if they wish to be relevant. With future mobility all set to introduce a new set of business dynamics, dealers will have to arm themselves with a new set of tools, skills and ideas all aimed at helping them adroitly navigate the challenges in the market.
The event's closing address by Ashish Kale, vice-president, FADA, was an optimistic one. He also announced the FADA Dealership Awards, and the next session of Vyapar to be held in March, at Bhubaneshwar, Orissa.