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Unless the EV is good for the customer, I can’t push him to buy it: Maruti Suzuki chairman

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s firm call to end fossil-fuel driven automobiles and move in for electric vehicles has elicited immediate and equally firm responses from the industry leaders.

Interpreting Gadkari’s unambiguous words as an expression of intent of the government, Maruti Suzuki Chairman, R.C.Bhargava has said, as reported in the media, that Maruti supports the intent and at the same time, the company cannot force the customer ‘ to buy’ EV unless it is good for the customer.

The statement of the minister must be seen an earnest efforts to persuade the industry to reorient itself to the changing conditions.

“Mr Gadkari and the government are not going to kill this industry,” he said. “They can’t, they won’t, why should they? This industry is a huge generator of wealth and employment for the country. But they (the government) want the industry to adopt a new direction and to tell the industry that we are serious about it.”
“That is all that they are doing. So, it is now for industry to see how to make it happen and make a sincere effort to make it happen,” he added.

After saying that the government must get inputs from various segments of the industry, he puts the statements of the Minister in an interesting perspective, in a way, insightful.

“I think in some ways I appreciate what Mr Gadkari is trying to say because by and large the government announces things and says things but doesn’t follow through in implementation,” he said.

“Implementation is our weakest area. If Mr Gadkari says he is going to bulldoze, and I hope by bulldoze he means get implemented, what could be better? So, in some ways I am quite sympathetic with what he said.”

Daimler's Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche on Monday said Mercedes-Benz will offer electric versions of all its models by 2022, converting its Smart city car brand to become fully electric.

Speaking at the company's investor day in Sindelfingen, Germany, Daimler said it will offer at least 50 electrified versions of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in a hybrid and fully electric car variants.

Interpreting the words of the Minister as the direction and the target given by the government, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Association (SIAM) said, “We will put all our energy and resources and focus on a particular direction, still we are going to achieve at least 30-40 percent. The direction is very clear.  We have to move as quickly as possible towards the all-electric. So I look at it more as a direction, then as an end date. Obviously, it can’t be an end date. The other countries are saying, they will do it by 2040. So it is a process, we are starting a process and starting it very seriously. That is the way we are looking at it."

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