Industry News

FADA Auto Summit 2023 themed ‘Fit and Future Ready’ lays roadmap for auto retail sector

At the event, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairperson of INSPACe – Department of Space, Government of India, was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for his enormous contributions to the Indian automotive industry

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla lighting the lamp to inaugurate the FADA Auto Summit 2023

The 12th edition of the Auto Summit 2023, a biennial flagship convention of the Federation of Automotive Dealers Association (FADA), was held in New Delhi in January 2023. The summit was themed ‘Fit and Future Ready’ and it provided an overview of the Indian retail automobile industry. The event was attended by senior government officials as well as stalwarts of the Indian automobile industry and industry think tanks. The summit provided a common forum for the industry, leaders, manufacturers, government officials, dealers, industry analysts, academia and various think tanks to discuss the changing dynamics of the Indian automotive retail and service industry, upcoming business opportunities and envisioning the industry’s future.

The event featured a lively discussion on the Indian automobile sector’s current and prospective challenges, the future of the automotive retail business in India, new business prospects, and the industry’s readiness for the changing dynamics of the mobility ecosystem solutions. Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla was the chief guest. Recognising the automotive industry’s contribution to the Indian economy, Om Birla stated that automobile dealers are an integral component of the automotive ecosystem and act as the industry’s public face. The Indian government has been working tirelessly to cut carbon emissions and create a greener India.

The automobile industry must play a key role in this inspiring endeavour, he further stated. Dealers are the key point of contact for customers and they carry a big responsibility for raising awareness about this mission. “We will soon be presenting the Auto Dealer Protection Act and Model Dealer Agreement in the parliament for discussion and I am optimistic that we will have a fruitful discussion on the same,” he announced. The speaker praised FADA for launching a road safety and green future campaign, noting that initiatives like ‘Buckle Up India’ and one sapling for every car sold are noteworthy and will have a significant impact on the government’s efforts to promote safety and environmentally friendly mobility for generations.

India has the potential to be a major exporter of cutting-edge technology and future fuel. The country has made tremendous progress in developing new automotive technologies, future fuels and as a production base for quality products for the Indian and global markets. He urged dealers to educate customers about welfare schemes offered by the central and state governments, as well as insurance coverage. Automobile manufacturers, dealers and customers must contribute to making the country a greener and safer environment for the future.

Manish Raj Singhania, President, FADA welcomed the distinguished guests and association members at the 12th Auto Summit and said: “Our dealer network is a key component of the automotive ecosystem, providing over 4.5 million jobs and a large ongoing investment in addition to being a key contributor to revenue generation for states and the central governments. The automotive sector has been on a roller-coaster ride in recent years, but it has weathered the storm. The past few months have clearly shown signs of revival with increased commitment and trust among customers and the members of the automotive industry. We are optimistic that this momentum will continue.”

“The 12th Auto Summit has addressed the important concerns, challenges and opportunities not only for the dealer community but for the entire automobile industry. We must all work together to make this business more adaptive and future-ready in terms of technology, high-quality customer service and global-quality products,” he added. The automobile dealers, as a responsible community, has launched the ‘Buckle Up’ road safety campaign and the ‘Green Initiative’ which involves planting a sapling for each vehicle sold as part of their continued efforts to strengthen their commitment to society.

“Under the industry’s green mobility mission, we have come a long way in terms of technology and design advancement. It’s time for the dealer community to collaborate with our manufacturing partners to provide customers with cutting-edge, user-friendly products and services. To ensure the success of this initiative, FADA and Meta (Facebook) have teamed up to provide digital training to over 3,000 dealers so that they can build a social media presence on various digital platforms,” Singhania further stated. He designated September 19, the FADA Foundation Day, as Auto Dealers Day, and urged all member dealers to observe this day with great pride in their contributions to the community and the industry.

Manish Raj Singhania, FADA President (left) and Rajeev Chaba, President & MD, MG Motor India, releasing the Model Dealer Agreement

He added, “The Model Dealer Agreement is an important part of the new-age dealer association and management, creating a level playing field for OEMs and dealers working together to provide some of the most innovative, cutting-edge products and services to Indian customers. Nine OEMs have personally heard about the Modern Dealer Agreement and we are happy to report that each of them has responded in a very positive way. I am pleased to announce that after two years of hard work by FADA, the MDA was accepted and approved by MG Motors, marking the beginning of the journey’s successful conclusion.”

Strong Participation

The summit featured 60+ speakers, seven sessions, six workshops and 1,500+ participants. The convention included extensive discussion on the future of the automobile retail business in India, emerging opportunities and disruptions in the Indian automobile industry, India’s journey towards future fuel, the future of the passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle segments, government policies, keynotes, panel discussions, one-on-one interactions and many other interesting topics with industry leaders, key industry policymakers and new market entrants.

Key Sessions and Workshops

*** Inaugural Session

FADA management greeted guests and honoured Chief Guest Om Birla as well as other guests of honour. The chief guest lit the lamp to begin the 12th Auto Summit. Guests of honour Narayan Tatu Rane, Minister for MSME of the Government of India; Shailesh Chandra, Vice President of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM); and Subhrakant Panda, President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) were present at this occasion alongside Manish Raj Singhania, President of FADA. Geoffrey Pohanka, Chairman Designate of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), presented a video greeting for the occasion.

Other initiatives such as the coffee table book ‘Women in Automotive Retail’, the ‘Buckle UP’ campaign and the ‘Green Initiative’ were also launched during the inaugural session along with the release of a white paper titled ‘Fit and Future Ready’. Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairperson of INSPACe, the Department of Space, Government of India, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from FADA for his outstanding contributions to the Indian automotive industry and KVS Prakash Rao, Past President of FADA, received the Exemplary Contribution to Automobile Dealer Fraternity Award.

*** CXO Panel on Automotive Retail Future Ready

The session was moderated by Hormazd Sorabjee, Editor, Autocar India, along with panellists comprising industry stalwarts. The panel discussed the future of the Indian automobile industry, its willingness to transform and the vision for the journey ahead. The Indian automobile industry has evolved to a new world in the post-pandemic era. The panellists reviewed the upcoming opportunities and challenges and also discussed the organisation’s plans for the future making a stronger contribution to the world of green mobility. The panellists also shared their views on the government’s continued push towards green mobility in the form of electric, biofuel, CNG and other greener options available.

*** Two-Wheelers: Emerging Opportunities and Disruptions

The two-wheeler industry has been the backbone of the Indian automobile industry since its existence. The two-wheeler industry has immense growth potential, which mirrors the budding growth of rural India. The two-wheeler industry is the most price-sensitive segment and any change in price impacts the segment at large. The efficient sector leadership panel discussed the sector challenges and emerging opportunities in detail. The session was moderated by Hemal N Thakkar, Director (Transport, Mobility and Logistics), CRISIL Ltd. with industry thought leaders of the two-wheeler industry.

*** Indian’s Journey towards Fuel of the Future

India has the potential to become a major manufacturing hub and a supplier of clean fuel in the near future. India is in a great position to develop as an energy exporter, so the nation is constantly looking at opportunities for the fuel of the future. Future alternative fuel options and their effects on the industry, society and environment were discussed during the session. Along with Manish Raj Singhania, President of FADA, panellists from India’s power, new and renewable energy ministries, experts, and business leaders discussed India’s vision for fuel for the future as well as challenges and prospects.

*** Women in Mobility: Breaking Barriers and Beyond

In a variety of organisations and sectors, including the mobility industry, an increasing number of women are assuming leadership and founding responsibilities. Women are levelling the playing field in nearly every industry as well as in entrepreneurship where they are breaking down obstacles. This discussion centred on the role played by women in the nation’s mobility sector. The panellists talked about the value of and opportunities for women in the Indian automotive industry. Swati Khandelwal, Executive Editor of Zee Business, chaired the discussion with noted female leaders in the automotive business.

*** Passenger Vehicles: Relationships of the Future

The passenger vehicle (PV) market has maintained a remarkable level of growth constancy over the entire year. Possession of personal mobility has increased in the post-pandemic world. In fact, personal mobility has become a must rather than a luxury. In this session, the panel focused on the passenger vehicle segment’s current scenario and the future of the segment. Alisha Sachdev, Assistant Editor at Mint, chaired the discussion, which included leaders, experts and members of the industry. The discussion spun around emerging futuristic technologies, demand, current scenario and future opportunities for the passenger vehicle segment.

*** Future of Commercial Vehicles

An essential component of India’s infrastructure and economy is the commercial vehicle sector. It powers the foundation of the nation’s economy. Throughout the entire calendar year 2022, the CV segment grew and is currently at par with CY 2019 retails. The government’s ongoing push for infrastructure development – coupled with the increase in demand for LCV, HCV, buses and construction equipment – has kept this sector afloat. The session was moderated by Amit Mohan, Joint President, Kotak Mahindra Bank and Director, Kotak Mahindra Prime. The panel focused on a discussion regarding changing the dynamics and future of the commercial vehicle segment in India.

*** Auto Retail: Unlocking the Value – Road Towards Public Offer

Due to digital transformation and changes in consumer behaviour, the automotive dealership has evolved in the post-pandemic era. The session’s main topics were the current issues facing the Indian automobile dealer community and its foreseeable future. Parikshit Luthra, Senior Anchor and Associate Editor, CNBC TV18, moderated the concluding session.

*** Workshops and Other Events

The event also witnessed six different workshops, namely, Scrappage: Pot of Gold, Self-Assessment Health Check, A Body Shop: Unlocking Value and Is the Future Digital? 3W: End of Road for ICE Engine? and Future Focus: Pre-Owned Business.