Autocar Professional's Man of the Year 2019 is MG Motor India's Rajeev Chaba

by Ajit Dalvi 24 Dec 2019

As 2019 drives to a close, it's time to take stock of a year that has been a really tough one for India Auto Inc. But tough times call for tough leaders to make tough decisions and some have stood out by navigating through a prolonged industry slowdown, which shows no signs of slowing down.

Autocar Professional celebrates its 15th Anniversary Issue by celebrating the the movers and shakers of the industry across the vehicle manufacturing and component supplier spectrum. Come along for the exciting ride in the form of captivating features, exclusive interviews, industry analysis, exclusive guest columns by captains of industry and lots more. In all of 182 pages.

Man of the Year 2019
Making a mark in a new market is never easy for an automobile company, especially in the current market scenario. The task can become even more challenging if the OEM is targeting a highly competitive passenger vehicle market with 17 OEMs and 2 of them dominating the market with a combined share of 70 percent. That's exactly the challenge, China's largest auto maker and State-owned company SAIC Motor Corporation embarked upon when it decided to enter the Indian auto industry by setting up MG Motor India and commencing market operations this year.

For the successful launch of the business and some rapid steps (which includes its recently announced strategy for the electric mobility era) aimed at sustainable growth, the man at the helm of affairs, Rajeev Chaba, president and MD, MG Motor India, wins the honour. Find how this seasoned industry professional has used his deep understanding of the Indian automobile market and his inclusive approach with all stakeholders to drive growth for a new brand and also how he plans to build an enterprise with a successful business, and more.

Newsmakers in 2019
There have been a number of industry heads in 2019 who have made the headlines, both in India and abroad. We profile eight of these leaders, including two from the government, one the head of India's premiere testing and certification agency, two two-wheeler OEM heads, two IITians who are driving a dynamic electric vehicle start-up, the driving force of a 160-year-old diesel engine manufacturer who has recently plugged into EVs, and, of course, the global head of the French carmaker which is going great guns on the global firmament.

Exclusive guest columns from captains of industry
L Ganesh, Chairman, Rane Group – ‘Building a culture of quality’
Dr Andy Palmer, President and Group CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda – ‘A car industry Christmas carol’
Henrik Fisker, Chairman and CEO, Fisker Inc – ‘The electrics are coming’
David Ward, President and CEO, Global NCAP – ‘Road map for safer vehicles 2030’
Dr Wilfried G Aulbur, Senior Partner & Member Supervisory Board, Roland Berger – ‘Getting on top of megatrends’
Dr Anup Bandivadekar, Program Director / Regional Lead, The International Council on Clean Transportation – ‘The Brave New World of BS VI’
Shashi Rajagopalan, Senior Director, Manufacturing Business Group, Manufacturing Engineering Software, Siemens and
Doug Burcicki, Automotive Market Director-Integrated Electrical Systems, Mentor Graphics (Siemens Business) – ‘Digital technologies as enablers of lightweight EV production’
Brieux Boisdequin, Vice-President, Automotive Businesses, Strategy and New Business Development, BASF South Asia – ‘Driving into the  Mobility of Tomorrow’

Passionate about PVs
Keeping a successful business going needs a future-ready strategy and that's what Maruti Suzuki India is doing, as it eyes a seamless transition to BS VI and gradually betting on green fuel tech like CNG. We speak to CV Raman, senior executive director (Engineering), who also reveals the company's electric mobility strategy.

Meanwhile, Tata Motors, which has taken the covers off its premium Altroz hatchback. Does the car have what it takes to beat the competition? Find out.

New Delhi is one of the top offenders when it comes to road crash incidents  in India. Now Maruti Suzuki has joined forces with the Delhi Traffic Police to make the capital city’s roads safer by investing in the latest technological infrastructure to curb traffic offences and fatalities. We speak to Meenu Choudhary, IPS, Commissioner of Police – Delhi Traffic Police on the various measures being taken to improve road safety.

India Auto Inc walking the talk on skilling
Even as the auto industry faces multiple challenges in an era of technological disruptions, there is a bigger threat — as many as 41.5 million positions could remain unfilled by skilled employees between 2019-2025.

Our comprehensive data-filled industry analysis reveals just what OEMs and suppliers are doing to bridge the skill gap as well as upskill existing workforce. We also speak to Nikunj Sanghi, president, Automotive Skill Development Corporation, and Vinnie Mehta, director general, ACMA, for their point of view.

Tech talk of the town
In a path-breaking move, Indian Oil Corp has developed a new chemical process which helps convert CNG into hydrogen-enriched CNG – an intermediate step towards scalable adoption of hydrogen fuel cells, considered to be the cleanest form of mobility. Dr SSV Ramkumar, director, R&D, Indian Oil has us all ears with the latest tech in town which promises to be a game-changer.

Also find out how AutoNxt Automation, which is developing India's first autonomous and electric tractor, aims to make a difference to those who toil on soil.

Commercial Vehicle OEMs fight the slowdown
Ashok Leyland, which expects the commercial vehicle industry growth to return by Q3 FY2021, is putting all efforts to execute its plans in the M&HCV and LCV businesses to be a significant player in new overseas markets and realise its ambition of entering the Top 10 CV OEMs group from the current 24th rank.

In an exclusive interview, Dheeraj Hinduja, Chairman, Ashok Leyland, talks about strategies for growth, which also include collaboration for electric vehicles.

VE Commercial Vehicles, which began manufacturing and exporting Euro 6 base engines to Volvo Group in 2013, not surprisingly, is bullish on BS VI. We visit the Pithampur plant for a first-hand look at engine and truck manufacturing and also speak to Chief Operating officer Rajinder Singh Sachdeva, who reveals some very interesting news. 

Meanwhile, CV market leader Tata Motors is aiming to enhance the value proposition for customers in a BS VI era. In an exclusive interview, Girish Wagh, president – CV Business Unit, tells us just how the company plans to go about this strategy. 

Delhi-based bus maker JBM Group, which has latched on to new business in the form of CNG-powered buses to a clutch of airlines, is optitmistic abouit recording strong growth. Find out why

Two's company, ICE or EV
With the consumer shift to peppier and premium products underway, the world's largest two-wheeler manufacturer, which has the bulk of its sales coming from the commuter motorcycle segment, is also thinking differently. Vikram Kasbekar, Executive Director — Operations (Plants) and CTO, Hero MotoCorp, reveals the future product and growth strategy.

TVS Motor Co's premium Apache has just gone BS VI with a new engine and components to meet stricter emission norms. The company also ups the ante with some unique features to improve connectivity and the overall riding experience. 

Electric scooter maker Ather Energy made an electric move by announcing an MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to set up a new production facility in Hosur to produce lithium-ion batteries and EVs.

Strapping on a helmet is a wise idea but what if the helmet can also provide additional safety features? Two NCR-based start-ups have taken the life-saving kit a notch further with hi-tech features that enable timely accident alerts and an in-built filter that makes breathing easy in polluted environs.

Sum of all parts: a component industry special
With all vehicle segments underperforming, how is the component industry faring? We have all the stats and fact for H1 FY2019. Deepak Jain, president, ACMA calls it a year of resilience and also provides his outlook for 2020.

The old order changeth, giving place to new and Baba Kalyani, Chairman and Managing Director of Bharat Forge and one of the doyens of India’s industrial renaissance, is mindful of the fact. Under his leadership, the world's largest forging company is not just looking to protect its profit margins but also embrace the winds of change with aplomb. 

Visit the town of Satara in inner Maharashtra and all you see is Cooper Corporation, which designs, manufactures and supplies engines, engine components and gensets to Indian and global OEMs. Chairman and Managing Director Farrokh Cooper, in past- forward mode, reveals how the company has taken giant strides over the years. It has been making in India for close to 100 years, much before the mantra became famous.

Make in India is also what the Padova, Italy-based Carraro Group believes in. We have the inside story on how 90-year-old Mario Carraro’s decision to manufacture in India 20 years ago has paid handsome dividends both in terms of a footprint in Asia and growing exports.

Despite the current slowdown, Schaeffler India has not reduced its research investment and plans to invest Rs 1,000 crore over three years. In his first media interview, Harsha Kadam, the new MD and CEO, says the India business has the potential to become Schaeffler’s single largest base. 

Continental, which recently announced its powertrain business under the Vitesco Technologies brand, has India's  two-wheeler segment in its crosshairs. We spill the beans.

Let's go on Ontario now. Home to the top five global OEMs, over 700 suppliers and 500 tool and mould makers, Ontario might just be the prescription that India Auto Inc needs. Victor Fedelli, Ontario’s Minister for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, suggests that the province could become the gateway for Indian Auto Inc to take advantage of NAFTA.

A 'glocal' strategy acts as a good insulator to a slowdown. That's just what L&T Technology Services is benefiting from as it revs up its portfolio. CEO and Managing Director Dr Keshab Panda tell us how the firm is looking to accelerate its expertise, from smart manufacturing to LiDAR to partnering global OEMs and Tier 1 companies, and acquiring cutting-edge tech firms too.

There's lots more still in this simply unputdownable cracker of an anniversary issue. We'd love to tell you more but it'd better for you to get your hands on a copy that's designed to keep you enthralled well into 2020. 

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