he Covid-19 pandemic damaged every economic activity causing losses to all sectors. Amid such a crisis, CEO of Rohan Autoriders Private Limited, Rajiv Dubey, offers a rare glimpse into the current state of the automotive industry and Hero MotoCorp’s future plans. Excerpts:
Do you see sales growth post lockdown?
Hero MotoCorp took the pandemic as an opportunity to return stronger. We saw that heavy vehicles registered growth which signifies that the economy is on track. Two-wheelers have also registered a 15 per cent growth Y-o-Y. It is expected that the industry will recover at a much faster pace. Hero MotoCorp has grown by 15-16 per cent. Odisha is also on the same track.
What was the two-wheeler buying trend in Bhubaneswar during the pandemic?
Bhubaneswar is an urban market with its demand for two-wheelers going up. Due to the pandemic, the two-wheeler market was severely affected. But post pandemic, the city has seen 60-70% of the pre-Covid sales.
How do you see the future of EVs in India?
All automobile companies are conscious about EVs. But it will take almost 15 years to set up full-fledged infrastructure. Without infrastructure, like setting up of charging centers, EV demand may not rise. The Odisha government is also aware of the matter and has provided sufficient incentive to set up EV factories in Odisha. As a result, three EV plants are coming up in the state.
How do you see the taxation of two-wheelers?
GST on two-wheelers is very high, about 28%. The GST has to come down for the benefit of all stakeholders. Now two-wheelers have become necessity for all. Therefore, there is need for GST reduction.
What difficulties companies faced during BS VI implementation?
BS VI was a big challenge for us. The government placed a condition that all vehicles have to be registered by March 31, 2020. Now there was a big pressure on RTO. Due to registration traffic, the portal got crashed. It was very difficult to meet the deadline and to obey the Supreme Court order for the registration by March 27. The transition from BS IV to VI was a bit troublesome. However, Hero’s BS VI vehicles were very well accepted for which we posted a good recovery. BS VI model was costlier by 15 per cent which was a big pressure on buyers, but now the market has accepted it.
Any suggestions to government
GST should be reduced on two-wheelers and the government should also take note that insurance premiums are high. Moreover, the government should promote EVs and take steps to set up infrastructure.