'Covid-19 puts focus back on personal vehicles, pushes out shared rides'
The coronavirus pandemic has clearly established the role of private vehicles, pushing out shared mobility in the process while also dampening the 'whole excitement' over electric vehicles, according to auto components major Motherson Sumi Systems Ltd Chairman Vivek Chaand Sehgal.
Citing global experience of countries like China, Japan and South Korea, where there has been a spike in demand of personal vehicles when the countries re-opened after the Covid-19 induced restrictions, he exuded confidence that the conventional automotive industry has a bright future.
"One thing is certain that Covid-19 has clearly established the role of a private vehicle for daily usage. All those particular thoughts about shared vehicle and that's going to be the future is all out of the window," Sehgal told PTI.
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Stating that the demand for personal vehicles has has been "very very strong" after the reopening of the economies, he said, "We saw that in China (where) demand came back very strong. I think the same happened in Japan, the same happened Korea and as countries opened up, we could see there was a beeline for buying a vehicle because the space is very very important for you."
Commenting on the impact that the pandemic has had on the automotive industry, Sehgal said, "I believe that a lot of clarity has been brought in, at least for the next two years."
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Also, he added, "I think the whole excitement about that the future is going to be the electric cars and things like that is also a bit toned down for the simple fact that to replace 1.4 billion cars in the world at one time it is a mammoth task."
Observing that "a lot of the feeling of reality has set in and people have understood that", Sehgal said going forward more focus is going to be given towards trying to expand fuel economy of vehicles, "and that I think will be more reasonable and doable in the next 10-15 years".
On the road ahead for the automotive industry, he said, "I think there is a huge future. It is going to go very strong and (we are) looking forward to exciting times."
Sehgal also said once the Covid-19 vaccine is found, it "will make people little bit more wanting to go out and that's very important".