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CI_March2018Steer the Policy in the Right Direction

THE LAST MONTH WAS EXTREMELY HECTIC FOR US with the Auto Expo and the Car India Awards taking place in quick succession. It was evident that a number of manufacturers had decided to give the Auto Expo a miss presumably owing to the cost involved in participating and the returns achieved. There were only a few new cars with the BMW Group leading the way by launching four, apart from the Maruti Suzuki Swift. Most other manufacturers merely unveiled cars and displayed concepts.

As for the annual Car India Awards, we had 22 contenders this year for the Automobile of the Year and the fight for the crown was between the Maruti Suzuki Dzire and the Hyundai Verna. In the event, the Dzire walked away with the top honours.

A Union minister recently made a statement on the National Auto Policy, saying that the government was not pushing EVs, thus correcting the statement made earlier that car manufacturers would have to make and sell EVs from 2030 or they would be bulldozed out of business.

The technology for the future is not EV but fuel cell and hydrogen, and the best way forward in the interim is hybrids. The policy makers need to encourage the sale of hybrids by levying lower taxes and duties.

To put this in a proper perspective, the Honda Accord hybrid delivers better fuel efficiency than the sub-four metre Honda Brio that enjoys the tax benefit of being a small car. Therefore, it is high time the authorities looked at tailpipe emission and fuel efficiency for tax benefit.

The green light is now definitely β€˜on’ for hybrid cars and expect a flurry of new launches in the next year or so.


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