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Old 29th August 2018, 15:48   #1
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Default Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

The FAME II regulations will go a long way in boosting EV uptake in India. Nonetheless there will be a reluctance due to the traditional mindsets of both manufacturers and consumers. This is a radical change in the Indian auto sector and will play a defining role over how India's passenger car market evolves over the next decade.

This is also opportunity for a myriad of car makers who where fighting over simply one half of the market while the other half was dominated by the oldest player in the Indian market, Maruti Suzuki. A company devoid of EV expertise and relying primarily on affordable small IC engined passenger vehicles, it will be far more vulnerable in the EV space. While Toyota will provide Maruti a helping hand it also provides a big chance for other car makers who struggled to compete so far.

The question is will they? While Mahindra is the oldest EV player, both it's products are far from appealing and are most likely to be discontinued in the coming years. 8 years after taking control of Reva the Indian behemoth still has little to show for it. Tata has a promising product in the Tigor EV, but there are plenty of questions that still remain on a model adapted to use an EV powertrain. JLR has genuine EV expertise but it will mostly be a while before we see this trickle down into the Tata product range.

The Chinese makers on the other hand have a plethora of dedicated EV models and posses expertise in manufacturing and selling them enmasse. With monthly EV sales of 70k+ cars this is perhaps one of the most matured EV markets and the domestic makers highly competent in this space.

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source: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/29...chnica-report/

EV uptake will help combat the rising fuel import bill and will also benefit large cities that are choking due to pollution. While the Indian government has the right intentions I have a feeling that this will play directly into the hands of Chinese players. They already have the benefits of volumes, large scale battery manufacturing capacity and a range of models to chose from. Even using a CKD operation they can price their EVs competitively.

The MNC players are still battling to keep EV costs competitive and many are focused on pushing their EV models upmarket in order to not affect their regular IC engined line up.

While many in the industry are scratching their heads as to how to approach this upcoming change in policy the Chinese manufacturers must be licking their lips in delight knowing fully well that they are very hard to beat in this game. If the likes of Tata and M&M are not fully committed to the EV market they could find their rugs pulled out from right under their feet. What should have smelled as an opportunity could turn out to be a strangle hold by new rivals.

Interesting times ahead.

Last edited by shortbread : 29th August 2018 at 15:50.
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Old 29th August 2018, 17:24   #2
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/b...ar-future.html

Global 'issue'!!
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Old 29th August 2018, 18:05   #3
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

All of them sound like Washing Machine models

In India, the Chinese have done well in one category of consumer goods, and that is smartphones. Widespread adoption of Android OS probably has something to do with it - all phones are more or less the same. Most of them last for 2 or 3 years before needing replacement.

It's pertinent to note that the Chinese haven't done well in other consumer electronics categories like refrigerators, television, washing machines etc. 10 years down the line, will Chinese car makers dominate the Indian EV scene? I have my doubts - since car purchase involves spending lots of INRs and is a long term asset with resale value.

I think most Indian car customers will stick to known brands. EV technology can always be borrowed from other manufacturers & tech companies working in this space.

Last edited by SmartCat : 29th August 2018 at 18:11.
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Old 29th August 2018, 18:47   #4
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
I think most Indian car customers will stick to known brands.
In my opinion, known brands will be opted for in the short term only.

Case in point : Mi's initial adoption was kinda low, but from Redmi Note 3, their sales just flew, so much so they now are the biggest cellphone player.

I believe that in the distant future, it shall be more about the specifications of the car and budget, rather than the dominant role the brand plays ( like in today's times ). Many cars will be performance focused, whereas many cars may focus on very very long range.

If it won't kill the biggies like Maruti/Mahindra/Tata, the onslaught could be the death-knell for small market share players like Nissan/VW/Skoda, unless start focusing on their own product lines as well.
For Eg: Xiaomi's products, hampered Samsung sales, but decimated the likes of Micromax, Lava, Maxx, Karbonn etc.
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Old 29th August 2018, 20:09   #5
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
will Chinese car makers dominate the Indian EV scene? I have my doubts - since car purchase involves spending lots of INRs and is a long term asset with resale value.

I think most Indian car customers will stick to known brands.
I agree that Indian consumers will be highly reluctant to buy a chinese car. The purchase decision involves pride, desirability, status, reliability etc. and plunging 7-8 lakhs plus to buy an electric ching-chong or ding-long would be a very difficult purchase decision!

But what if there is no viable competition?

The rumour mill states that there will be considerable Govt. grants plus the prospect of free electricity at charging points. When the benefits of buying an EV is this enticing, what are the consumers purchase options? At best a Tigor EV and that's it, there's really not much competition.

So if a chinese EV comes at a lower price point and when such benefits are available, why wont the consumer take a bite? Then, say a year or so down the line when these brands capture mainstream imagination more people will take the plunge. Highly likely that rivals are still busy developing their own affordable EVs at this point!

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Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
EV technology can always be borrowed from other manufacturers & tech companies working in this space.
From whom and at what cost (royalties, licenses etc.)?

The fact of the matter is apart from Tesla the only other successful mainstream EVs are the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt and the Renault Zoe. The first two are highly unlikely to be volume players in India.

Every other manufacturer have taken their EVs upmarket, Jaguar, BMW, VAG etc

The Maruti-Toyota collaboration looks good but Toyota's strength lies in Hybrids and the rumours state there will be no benefits for Hybrids in the latest policy.

The Chinese on the other hand dominate the top 10 selling EVs in the world. They excel in making and selling affordable EVs. Domestic manufacturers have lagged behind the MNCs for decades in the chinese market as the population prefers international brands.

But the government's aggressive push towards EV uptake have reversed the tide. Now they dominate the EV sector and have a portfolio of tried and tested EVs for different segments. This is exactly why I am slightly worried the domestic car-makers will be caught napping.
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Old 29th August 2018, 20:24   #6
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

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Originally Posted by sharktale View Post

Case in point : Mi's initial adoption was kinda low, but from Redmi Note 3, their sales just flew, so much so they now are the biggest cellphone player.
Difference being that a smartphone costs INR 20K and has less impact on your bank balance if you need to replace it. A car, on the other hand, sits at the other end of the price and emotional purchase spectrum.
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Old 29th August 2018, 22:38   #7
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

The same was said when the koreans brands came to the USA, now KIA and Hyundai sell a lot and they have their own brand values.

If Indian and Japanese companies don't wake up, the chinese will surely dominate.

Remember China are worlds largest producer of lithium batteries, they have mining rights to lithium mines worldwide, they have the largest rare earth reserves and they pretty much have all the components that go in motor inverter/ESC pcb board. They are also the world largest producer of carbon fiber.

In India 2 wheeler electric market is already dominated by rebadged chinese imports.

Last edited by aim120 : 29th August 2018 at 22:41.
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Old 29th August 2018, 23:08   #8
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Default re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

We already have the Japs, Koreans, Germans and Americans selling cars in India. More than 80% of our smartphones are made in China. A good chunk of PayTM is owned by the Chinese. Why this alarm bell over the Chinese entering the EV sector?

If they make better cars, and cars which Indians grow to like, they'd deserve to be successful here.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:04   #9
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
It's pertinent to note that the Chinese haven't done well in other consumer electronics categories like refrigerators, television, washing machines etc. 10 years down the line, will Chinese car makers dominate the Indian EV scene? I have my doubts - since car purchase involves spending lots of INRs and is a long term asset with resale value.
While I also have my doubts about Chinese vehicles succeeding in India per se, but I still think that most components for the EVs will come from the Chinese unless our local manufacturing picks up and delivers the goods. So, overall we may see the Fords, Maruti and Hyundais running with Chinese components under the hood and our general non enthusiast public will not care or know.
Btw, if you look closely under the skin of our TVs, Refrigerators, ACs - while most of the best selling ones are the known non Chinese brands, their major components are made in China.
Heck, even my ACs made by the so called Indian company Voltas has compressors and blower assembly made in China. Oh, not to forget, even the user manual.

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 30th August 2018 at 09:07.
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Old 30th August 2018, 09:19   #10
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

China was obviously late to the internal-combustion-engine driven car market; that's why they are betting the house on electric vehicles (to be ahead of everyone). It's crazy what our giant neighbour is doing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sharktale View Post
In my opinion
Great post, thanks .

Quote:
Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
A car, on the other hand, sits at the other end of the price and emotional purchase spectrum.
Many experts seem to think that the next generation of automotive usage will be via subscriptions & short-term rentals, not ownership.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aim120 View Post
The same was said when the koreans brands came to the USA, now KIA and Hyundai sell a lot and they have their own brand values.
Well said!

1960s: Japanese cars will never sell. They are too light, too cheap and have too many compromises in quality. Besides, there is no badge value either. Toyota what?

1990s: Korean cars will never sell. They are too light, too cheap and have too many compromises in quality. Besides, there is no badge value either. Hyundai what?

2010s: Chinese cars will never sell. They are too light, too cheap and have too many compromises in quality. Besides, there is no badge value either. Geely what?
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:01   #11
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

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Originally Posted by iceman7 View Post
other hand, sits at the other end of the price and emotional purchase spectrum.
That is the basic ideology which shall change.

Phones were in the emotional purchase spectrum initially (Remember, the 90s). I still remember, that I literally cried myself to sleep as a kid one night, because I had dropped my father's month-old Nokia Communicator and it had a slight scratch.
Overtime, the emotional connect has been reduced.

Also, with regards to the budget of 20k, phones now offer 80%-90% of the features which flagship phones provide. So, the marginal utility graph graphic will immediately start playing in our heads.
Eg : Some of my friends, bought the Oneplus 3/3T, even though they initially looked around for flagship iPhones/Galaxys, just because it offered a better value proposition. (Oh yes, also the beast tech called DASH CHARGE! [Proud OnePlus fanboy ])

Additionally, phones had loads of replaceable components, which extended their useful life much beyond their economic value. Nowadays, with sealed battery cases and everything, repairing is such a herculean task.


Likewise, with the advent of EV and newer tech, fewer moving parts in cars could mean that the cost of repairs goes up significantly, and then replacement seems like a more viable option.
Eg : I have read certain posts which highlighted how difficult and cumbersome the process had become to repair a Tesla, as compared to a Hyundai/Maruti/BMW.

Last edited by sharktale : 30th August 2018 at 10:17. Reason: spacing
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:13   #12
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

In terms of urban infrastructure planning, the focus should not be on ensuring affordable private transport. It should be on providing reliable, safe and last mile public transport. As some wise man said, a developed country is not one where the poor drive cars. It is one where the rich use public transport.

Who wants to drive anyway in increasingly poor traffic conditions, be it an EV or a gas guzzler?

The objective should be take commuting cars off the road and let cars be used for leisure driving. Perhaps a good start would be to tax congested roads for usage. This would mean that traffic within the city would be regulated. The pre requisite of course has to be last mile connectivity for public transport.

Otherwise we are replacing fossil fuels with another environmental issue - batteries!
And this is before we even start discussing how we generate our electricity: by burning fossil fuels or going nuclear? I hope there is some genius somewhere working to build a mode of transport that uses something sustainable and less damaging to the environment.
Time to wake up and smell the coffee I think

Last edited by selfdrive : 30th August 2018 at 10:14.
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:23   #13
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

Different people have different use-cases for their cars. In my opinion, the business model that EV companies follow will be a make or break factor more than the brand value.

For example - If somebody uses their cars on the highways more often and over longer distances, they would prefer a manufacturer providing battery swapping services while someone using their car for daily office commute would prefer a manufacturer that provides fast charging in their cars.

The other factor would be the kind of infrastructure that a manufacturer has to back their vehicle, not only in terms of ASC but also on the roads which, as of today, is provided by the oil companies. Since the volumes are very low, third-party players are unlikely to invest unless there are enough vehicles on the road and it is a viable business proposition for them. It's easier to justify a business case within a city but on a highway, the volumes would be very low. Unlike bikes/scooters, cars are used over long distances and a private buyer will take into account all the practical reasons before making a purchase. So the onus is on the manufacturers.

I think, more than being a vehicle, EVs are more of gadgets a la smartphones that come bundled with support services backed by the manufacturer. It's not a fill it, shut it, forget it vehicle anymore.
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Old 30th August 2018, 10:30   #14
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

Quote:
Originally Posted by smartcat View Post
In India, the Chinese have done well in one category of consumer goods, and that is smartphones. Widespread adoption of Android OS probably has something to do with it - all phones are more or less the same. Most of them last for 2 or 3 years before needing replacement.
Totally agree, Android presented them a level playing field. However the trigger i feel is our Desi brands who imported these handsets and made Chinese realize the potential in our market.

I dont see that happening yet in our market in any other category. Good success story here is from Koreans, LG and Samsung who slowly replaced Japanese products and now are leaders.

Coming back to Automotive scene, I am still not clear how the transportation will evolve, EV is OK, but i am really hoping for some break-through in mass-transport which will render personal cars useless.
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Old 31st August 2018, 23:32   #15
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Default Re: Chinese manufacturers will dominate Indian EV sector if domestic players aren't committed

It is very clear that the market will be shifting towards EV and I think the brand which meets the market needs (pricing, battery tech, safety, service network, on road support, fast charging capability etc.) will be able to become the leader irrespective of which country it belongs to.

The early mover will have the obvious advantage though they'll also face more challenges as India as a market will take more time to start buying EVs. The biggest challenge I think will be in setting up the infrastructure for the charging stations.

EVs are going to be here irrespective of whether a car holds the current emotional value which results in ownership or if the market shifts towards a shared economy through subscriptions/lease. It's going to be interesting to see how the local brands pace up to compete with existing and new international players. Nevertheless it's going to be a good thing for us enthusiasts to see the strategy of these companies and also how the market matures. Let's buckle up and get ready for the future

Cheers!
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