Bajaj blames auto sector for slump, mediocre products

Mumbai: While most auto market players sought government intervention to support the sector, facing slowdown amid falling sales, Bajaj Auto Managing Director Rajiv Bajaj has divergent views and says the slump is due to the industry itself.

Bajaj said the industry should be resilient enough to absorb such shocks. “Most of the automobile slowdown is the industry’s own making,” he said in an interview recently. The automobile industry must look at its own shortcomings before asking for stimulus from the government, Bajaj said.

To drive home the point, Bajaj said Indian auto products were mediocre and the sector must introspect this in terms of making globally competitive products.

“Lot of these companies are not able to export because, frankly, by world standards, their products are mediocre. Obviously, I don’t want to name them. But when you are making everything — scooters, bikes, cars, jeeps, SUVs, trucks and buses — everything under the sun, you are obviously not going to be world-class at anything,” he said.

On the the two-wheeler segment, he said sales had declined 5-7 per cent, but that could not be called a crisis. The slowdown has also resulted in around 3 lakh job losses.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced steps to boost the economy, which also included measures for the auto industry.

She allowed government departments to purchase new vehicles to replace old ones. All vehicles purchased till March 31, 2020 could avail of the benefit of additional depreciation of 15 per cent, which will increase the higher depreciation on all vehicles to 30 per cent.

The minister also said BS-IV vehicles purchased till March 31, 2020 would remain operational for the entire period of their registration.

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