aci_june2016Regulatory Issues

The automotive industry in India is transforming, but with enormous challenges. The Supreme Court has extended the ban on registration of diesel cars with an engine capacity of 2000cc and above in Delhi. The diesel ban in Delhi, effective from December 16, 2015, has cost nearly 5,000 jobs in the automotive sector and a production loss of about 11,000 units. The move has hit the industry badly as Delhi is the biggest automotive market in India.

The latest crash test results for Indian cars from Global NCAP, released on May 17, 2016, continue to disappoint with all the 5 models rated as zero star. The Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon all showed low levels of adult occupant protection.

Both these national and international predicaments can be attributed, at least partially, to the improper and inadequate regulations given to the automakers in India by the government. The government has recognised the need to overhaul the safety norms by introducing Bharat NCAP regulations in 2017. The Union government has announced that the crash test regulation for the existing cars will come into effect in 2019 and for the new cars in 2017. This is a positive step as the Indian consumers also deserve the same kind of protection as those in the developed countries. The government support is inevitable for the adoption of international safety norms in the country.

In India, there is yet to be a law that makes recalls mandatory, in case of any technical snag. Owing to SIAM’s voluntary recall code, recalls in India have crossed 2.25 million between July 2012 and May 2016. This shows the Indian OEMs’ proactive efforts to address technical issues in their vehicles, as is the industry practice in the West. Though the SIAM code is certainly a step in the right direction, a mandatory code which allows the government to direct companies to recall vehicles will certainly increase the OEM focus on quality and help ensure that the products going to the market are ‘First Time Right’. It will also positively impact consumer and market sentiment.

As safety of the occupants is very important in driving vehicles, and lighting plays a big role in safe driving, our Cover Story on Automotive Lighting analyses its various aspects through the contributions and plans of the companies operating in India. We have reports on Hella, India Japan Lighting, Autolite, Fiem and others.

Wishing you pleasant reading.

Bhargav TS
Executive Editor

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