Post-Event Coverage: 4th ET Auto Retail Forum, New Delhi, 2019

In a backdrop of possibly the worst downtrend the Indian industry has experienced in recent times, our Consulting Director, Vinay Piparsania was invited to  moderate a panel at the 4th ETAuto Retail Forum 2019 this week.

ET-Auto,2019 Vinay Piparsania

With Automotive OEMs and dealership businesses facing immense challenges from disrupters, changing regulations and policies, and an overall slowing market scenario, the topic of the panel discussion “ Multi-Pronged Challenge: Vehicle Subscription Model, Ride-Sharing & Self-Drive Cars” generated a lot of interest and several insightful questions from the audience.

The panel included,

Mr. Vikas Jain, National Sales Head, Hyundai Motor India

Mr. Prabhjeet Singh Head of Cities, Uber India & South Asia.

Mr. Afdhel Abdul Wahab, Founder IndusGo

Mr. Diego Graffi, CEO & MD, Piaggio

The discussions  weaved around the  opportunities and trends that are were becoming mainstream in the country and whether subscription-based models could be counted amongst them. Given the recent offers made by Ather and Revolt, is there now an expectation for such an option available for conventional  ICE vehicles too?  What’s holding it back?  Given the slowdown being experienced, is this a possible disruptive solution?  What needs to change to be able to introduce? What are the risks?

It was enlightening to hear from Vikas Jain on Hyundai’s journey and growing popularity of their recently introduced Subscription model in association with Revv and on the business model adopted by Afdhel Wahab, founder of IndusGo, in the state of Kerala, which was developed with their deep understanding of the mobility and affordability needs of their customers in the state. It has been managed and developed entirely in-house by their dealership as a standalone alternate operation. Both Vikas and Afdhel, agreed that a number of legacy regulations needed reforms for such self-drive options to be specially categorized,  so as to offer a private-ownership like driving experience to grow popularity, and avoid any inconveniences to the user as it is currently treated as a commercial driving category.

With Uber being a main player in the country, Prabhjeet candidly fielded several questions on ridesharing, and whether this mobility model had reached a point where it is impacting new car sales? Of course it’s too early to say, but clearly the trend on choosing such services is steadily rising in the country, and they looking to expanding their reach to tier 2 and 3 cities. Diego shared on how product development actions toward new versions of EV scooters would build further on the mobility options emerging in the country for 2W, which are especially appealing for last-mile -first-mile applications, and demonstrate a high potential for growth.

The panel summarised, that with over 700 million millennials and GenZ category users emerging in, the country,  looking more for safer, reliable and economical mobility solutions,  shared mobility and self-drive subscription, with some policy clarity and reforms, could be a viable and attractive alternatives to purchasing vehicles.

ET-Auto,2019 Vinay Piparsania