India can become the world’s No. 1 auto manufacturing hub within five years, but car companies need to enhance safety features to reduce deaths from road accidents, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.
In his inaugural speech at the Auto Expo 2023 here, the Road Transport and Highways Minister claimed the government aimed to reduce these accidents by 50% by the end of 2024, while asking the auto industry to take motorcycle Road safety action because the government doesn’t want to enforce anything.
Gadkari’s views were also echoed by Heavy Industries Minister Mahendra Nath Pandey, who lamented that while India’s vehicles accounted for only 1% of the total vehicle fleet, the country accounted for 11% of all global fatalities due to road accidents.
“In terms of manufacturing, we want India’s auto industry to be number one in the world, but in terms of road accidents, we aim to reduce them by 50% by the end of 2024,” Gadkari said.
He said that in the 18-34 age group, many people lost their lives to car accidents.
He noted that as road infrastructure improved, so did the speed at which vehicles could travel.
“Once again I send you my best wishes, the day will come when in five years this industry will become the number one manufacturing center in the world, you have a greater potential to challenge it, but at the same time, it is difficult , but 100% not impossible. You all have the ability to do it,” Gadkari said.
The Roads Minister is also seeking industry support on industry scrapping.
“On the scrapping side, car companies have 33% lower raw material costs and 10-12% more sales…even your turnover increases because 100% of the people who are scrapping are going to buy a new car,” he said , and estimated that sales could increase by up to 24% due to the scrapping policy.
He suggested that the company should give discounts to people who want to buy a new car, as long as they show a certificate of scrapping.
“We are also trying to get some discounts from the Treasury … but if you can give some discounts, that will be in your favor because it will increase your business and your profits,” he added.
Semiconductors and metals from end-of-life vehicles could be reused in auto parts, which would reduce the cost of the final product, Gadkari said.
“You can form joint ventures with smaller people, open your scrap units, and big companies can buy scrap,” he said.
Turning to air pollution, he said now is the time to reduce fossil fuel imports and electric vehicle exports.
“Sometimes, I don’t want to come to Delhi because of the pollution,” he said.
Pandey said that the Automobile Research Association of India (ARAI), an automotive research and development body, is working on developing a fast charger for electric vehicles and will soon bring it to the market.