India is among the most noteworthy automotive repair and maintenance markets in the world, alongside USA, China, Australia and South Korea. How the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the automobile workshops? How is the revival path?
Although like any other industry or business, it affected the automobile industry as well. However, the revival of ASI (Automobile Service Industry) happened as predicted. The sale of vehicles waiting is more longer than before. The future seems to continue this trend. India is on the recovery path much earlier than expected.
With so many startups entering the space, how are the conventional automobile workshops being impacted? How they are changing their business model to survive?
All startups like you named, are cloud companies having no workshops on their own. They work on models like Ola, Uber, Amazon, etc. But the fact is, we attend to their vehicles without customers knowing it. There is no loss of impact. The work has to be done and we are doing it for them.
There has been a dearth of proper training for the unorganised and conventional automobile workshop workers. Is that driving customer away from them, as the startups are using a well-trained workforce?
There is no dearth of training centers but surely there is a dearth of those who can take up the roles and responsibilities. Every skilled job needs practical and physical self-involvement and it starts from ground zero, no matter whichever certificate or degree one holds. We are living in times when professional and personal involvement is must and vehicle owners look for such workshops. Startups with experience will gain for
sure, provided they have the patience and stamina for good times ahead.
Electric vehicles and connected technology are two megatrends disrupting the auto industry at large. How these are impacting the Indian automobile workshop sector? Is the Indian workshop industry prepared to adapt with these megatrends?
Nothing is permanent. Change is in nature and we have to take it in the right spirit. The first electric car in the United States was developed in 1890–91 by William Morrison of Des Moines, Lowa. The vehicle was a six-passenger wagon capable of reaching a speed of 23 kilometers per hour (14 mph). Electricity is good but dangerous too.
Their constant experiment and untiring efforts are yielding favorable results in the greater interest of the environment. Indian automobile service industry adapts to the changes rapidly be it digital technology or EVs. We welcome it and we are all geared up to travel to this new route, comfortably and successfully.
In the light of the ever-changing customer demand, and megatrends disrupting the auto sector, what has been AIAWA’s stance to provide proper training to the Indian automobile workshop industry’s workforce?
As I always say, AIAWA is born out of challenges. Although we are in the fifth year of our existence, there is a continuous inflow of support from the ACMA, FADA, and ASDC apart from multinational and national automobile parts manufacturers, insurance, many multinationals, and prime players. Hence, as time progresses, training in the
workforce goes at par.
Job loss has been a severe crisis in India in the last two years due to the economic meltdown, accelerated by the pandemic. How the Indian automobile workshop industry is dealing with this crisis?
To attain experience and skills, it takes a person around 10-15 years of his continuous practice. Once he gains it, he remains in that profession no matter wherever he is located or goes. During the pandemic, migration took place and we saw it happening in our sector too. It did create emptiness in the place of their current employment. However, the return journey started gradually. It is worth mentioning at this point that the automobile service industry has a huge scope for growth and placement. Youngsters should take up this as their profession and join the automobile service industry for a bright future. People in search of jobs can also contact us and we will help provide them suitable jobs near to their home town.
How the automobile OEMs and auto component suppliers have been helping the Indian automobile workshop industry to sail through the crisis and to improve the service quality?
This is a subject to be discussed separately and widely. However, OEMs have accepted the fact that aftermarket plays important role in the sales or service of their products.
How emerging technologies are disrupting the automobile workshop industry?
It has never been disrupted instead always been adopted as per the changing times and technologies. Automobile workshops are always at the forefront of digitalising and for constant improvement. Given the fact that aftermarket handles more vehicles than the authorised, majority of our workshops adopt technology changes at par with the new models and their variants.
How Indian workshops can get ready for electric vehicles?
We are closely watching the scenario. As said earlier, nothing is permanent. Hence, we will embrace the rebirth of the EVs.
What does ‘Going Green’ mean to you in AIAWA?
We are no different. Going Green means taking measures to become environmentally conscious by using various methods to reduce the harm that your living does to the environment.
How will AIAWA help its members to implement environmentally friendly practices at their shop?
While we do our part but largely and mainly it is the government who needs to put in place the authorised scraping units where it can be sent.
While Indian Automotive Manufacturing Industry is all set to become a global hub, the auto repair and maintenance sector on the other side witnessing unprecedented growth. Your take on this?
Because of the friendly government policies and cheap but intelligent labor, and reliable products, India has achieved various landmarks in the automobile industry. India manufactures all types of automobiles including Satellite Launching Vehicles (SLVs). Soon India will be at the top of the globe chart in automobile manufacturing. We feel proud of this achievement. Time is not far when technicians from around the world would arrive here for schooling.
Vehicle Scrapping Policy (VSP) has many misconceptions amongst the general public. Owning a vehicle means payment of heavy taxes on buying, running, and maintaining. To make it affordable, government needs to give major relaxation during the running and maintenance of the vehicles. By doing so, owners will be encouraged to keep their vehicles healthy by timely periodic maintenance and repairs as and when required. Battery Swapping Policy should be the one and only method that will keep the vehicle going its way. LPG cylinders are the best example of swapping.
Any final thoughts?
Since we represent ground zero, our views are factual. We repair and maintain vehicles for the longest time of its life. The hardships faced are many. Therefore, our voice is genuine and logical.
AIAWA will be taking various decisions related to automobile aftermarket for the greater interest of the vehicle owners and manufacturers. We invite automobile parts manufacturers to support us and automobile workshops to join.