SAVWIPL CONTRIBUTES TO INDIA’S PUSH FOR RECOVERY
During the lockdown, SAVWIPL worked tirelessly at both manufacturing plants to control the situation. Several teams foussed on helping society cope with the pandemic while others focussed on ensuring business continuity
he news from India may be grim as the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to rise. In the western part of the country, the state of Maharashtra, where SAVWIPL has two plants and its administrative headquarters, is also one of the most affected states. The Indian economy has been severely hit by the strict lockdowns imposed.
That is the bad news. The good news is that the inherent strength and optimism of both the people and the economy are already showing signs of a comeback. The best indicator is the automotive industry, which contributes to around 7 percent of India’s GDP. A good monsoon has translated into a better rural economy, which has shown growth when it comes to key purchases.
As India leapfrogged from BS4 to BS6 (equivalent to Euro 4 to Euro 6 emission standards), SAVWIPL was already prepared with BS6 products. August was the third straight month of growth for overall automotive sales, at 17 percent year on year, indicating stability. In August, the VW Group sold 15 percent more than the targeted numbers.
During the lockdown phase, SAVWIPL worked tirelessly to control the situation and, as a result, was ready to resume operations in June. Today, SAVWIPL is ramping up production of the all-new SUVs as part of the INDIA 2.0 project. Aggressive and proactive measures are in place to address any concerns, and the Chakan and Aurangabad facilities are now coming on stream.
As early as May, ŠKODA AUTO India was also pioneering digital product launches in India. The digital introduction of not one but three models – the RAPID 1.0 TSI and the new SUPERB and KAROQ – was widely attended, and the products received an enthusiastic welcome from the media and audiences. In the marketplace, SAVWIPL innovated by offering a safe and contact-free vehicle purchase and delivery experience thanks to early investments in digitisation. From initial enquiries, test drives and booking to financing and, finally, delivery, the whole process is now contactless. Additional initiatives to give customers peace of mind, including an extended warranty and service value pack, were introduced and are available with a single click. These measures have given customers more confidence to invest in new models bearing the ŠKODA badge.
India enters its annual festive season around October and November every year, especially around the time of Diwali, the Festival of Lights. This is the time when most Indians make big purchases, which usually means cars and two-wheelers. The excitement has reached fever pitch in the marketplace, as all OEMs are lining up new offerings for their customers. The ŠKODA brand has also planned new introductions, and there are several exciting financing and ownership schemes to tap customer demand.
On the macro level, the Indian government has indicated that it will take some strong measures to boost automotive sales. In the long term, the government is making a huge push towards building a more sophisticated road network. India already has the second-largest road network in the world, and the average rate of road construction has increased to 30 kilometres per day in 2018–19. In fact, during the severe lockdown phase, in the months between April and August, 26 projects were commissioned to build 744 kilometres of highway.
A long-term roadmap has been planned for the sustainable development of India’s automotive industry, which will take into account global development, infrastructure readiness, localisation, cost competitiveness and other factors. This ties in with the government wanting to make the country independent and self-reliant. The vision is to make India the definitive automotive manufacturing hub for the world, and despite the disruption caused by COVID-19, all eyes are still fixed on this goal. ED