The Best is Yet to Come

A bright future awaits the auto sector in India was the message that emerged resoundingly at FADA’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations function held on 17th April 2015 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. 

Kicking off and setting the tone for the power-packed, day-long programme, K V S Prakash Rao, President, FADA said eloquently, “We, in automobile dealer fraternity, have gathered here to celebrate the Golden Jubilee and cherish Golden Moments in the history of FADA. However, the Golden age is before us, not behind us.”

The Golden Jubilee Celebrations event gave an opportunity to thank & salute the pioneers and game changers in automotive sector, including doyens of auto industry and auto retail business. The occasion also provided a crystal ball gazing into the future of auto retail. The release of Coffee Table Book tracking the landmarks in the history of auto sector; Informal discussion by industry leaders reflecting on the past, present and future of auto sector; and Automotive Dealership Excellence Awards for the year 2014 (ADEA 2014) were the special features of the event.

Speaking as Chief Guest on the occasion, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India said that the auto sector was the mainstay of Indian economy. In addition to making a significant contribution to the economy, the sector also helped in employment generation. He expressed the view that the growth of auto industry posed new challenges of pollution, road safety and infrastructure. In this context, the Union Minister referred to the recent National Green Tribunal orders banning 15-year old petrol vehicles and 10-year old diesel vehicles from plying in NCR. Gadkari exhorted the auto industry to work proactively, in keeping with the advancements in technology, to ensure safe motoring and clean environment. He hinted that the bio gas, bio-diesel and electric vehicles would have to be adopted in a big way to reduce CO2 emissions. Regarding the road infrastructure, the Union Minister assured that the present Government was committed to fast-tracking the road building, which would touch 30 kms a day by the next year from the current pace of 12 kms a day. He emphasized on water recycling for reuse. The minister pointed out that the government was working with a sense of urgency to promote inland & coastal waterways as mode of transport, which would significantly reduce the transportation cost, accidents and pollution.  

R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India, gracing the occasion as the Guest of Honour emphasized the importance of role played by the automobile dealers in the growth and development of auto sector in India, saying that no OEM would succeed unless both OEMs and their dealers worked together in partnership. He added that the auto sector was a shining example of ‘Make in India’, contributing significantly to the manufacturing GDP of the country. He said that unlike other commodities and durables, the car was a personal life-style product and was considered a prized possession. It provided safe and comfortable mobility to the people. The automobile dealers had onerous responsibility of affording after-sales service assurance and creating confidence among the vehicle users. He echoed the sentiment of FADA President that the Best was yet to come. 

Vinod K Dasari, Vice President, SIAM and MD, Ashok Leyland, while congratulating FADA stressed on the significance of Manufacturer – Dealer relationship, saying that the dealers were not only the face of manufacturer but also helped in building and strengthening customer relations through their after-sales services. He said that dealer network was the soul of the auto sector and economy. 

Talking about the future scenario, Dasari added that the next 5 years would see major changes in technology especially in passenger and commercial vehicles - engines, emission norms, crash protection, enhancement performance & comfort. Going forward, OEMs would increasingly be dependent on dealers for their inputs in bringing out new vehicles, suiting the ever changing needs of the customers.

Dr Pawan Goenka, President & ED, Automotive Sector & Farm Equipment, M&M said that the customization would be the key to success in the times to come and that the dealers would have to play a major role in delivering customized products. In spite of digitalization and invasion of internet, the dealerships would continue to play important role in providing feel and touch experience to the customers.

Professor Radhakrishna Pillai, Author & Founder Director of Chanakya Institute of Public Leadership (CIPL), said that the teachings and ideas of Chanakya, a great philosopher, strategist and economist in the Chitragupta era were still relevant in today’s business world. He said that a business strategy required out-of-box thinking and creating value for the customers. The best way to manage business problems would be to adopt the following strategic ideas propounded by Chanakya:

•Be careful from whom to take advice;

•Partner with those having strengths;

•Energy – Energise the team with your leadership;

•Do your calculations and adopt scientific approach;

•Act with tact; and

•Sharpen your skills in tune with the changing needs.

Congratulating FADA on its Golden Jubilee, Rajeev Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said that with fuel prices benign, inflation & interest rates down and the Rupee showing stability, the outlook for the future was rosy. He added that ICICI Bank would not only continue to partner with automobile dealers for vehicle finance, but would be happy to meet the whole gamut of funding needs of automobile dealerships.

Earlier welcoming the participants, K V S Prakash Rao, expressed his gratitude to the forerunners for their endeavours in making FADA a nationally and internationally recognized body, representing the interests of automobile dealers in India. He said that FADA - a unifying bond, binding the members of automobile dealer fraternity together since its inception – has played a key role in enhancing the knowledge and equipping automobile dealers to stand up to the changing dynamics of auto retail business. 

The Automotive Dealership Excellence Awards (ADEA 2014) presentation ceremony, organized by FADA in partnership with Overdrive, was an integral part of the FADA’s Golden Jubilee Celebration event. ADEA recognized and felicitated 11 automobile dealerships for their excellence in various areas of dealership management, CSR and community welfare activities. Now into the 6th edition, ADEA 2014 had 3 new individual parameter award categories, viz. (i) Marketing Initiative of the Year, (ii) Employee Engagement Initiative of the Year, and (iii) Women’s Empowerment Initiative of the Year.

The occasion also recognised the pioneering work of Past Presidents of FADA. The Past Presidents and the automobile dealerships that have been in the auto retail business for over 50 years and have stood the test of time were felicitated at the event.

Concluding the celebrations, John K Paul, Vice President, FADA thanked the Chief Guest – Nitin Gadkari, all other guests, speakers, sponsors, Network18, members of automobile dealer fraternity and other participants for making the event a truly memorable. He agreed with the view that automobile dealerships would continue to play a significant role in customer engagement through their pre-sales, sales and post-sales services, digitalization notwithstanding. 

FADA’s 274th Council Meeting

A day preceding the Golden Jubilee Celebrations event, FADA held its 274th Council Meeting on 16th April 2015 at the same venue.

The meeting reviewed the programme and arrangements for the FADA’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations function, Automotive Dealership Excellence Awards for the year 2014 and other sessions scheduled for the next day. 

Council noted that FADA had come a long way since its inception in 1964 and was recognised as the Voice of the Dealer in India. However, it needed to reach out to automobile dealers in the countryside to obtain their feedback and suggestions so that the organisation became more vibrant and meaningful to the members of automobile dealer fraternity. 

Council also stressed upon the digitalisation of FADA and constituted a committee to make suggestions/recommendations in this regard. 

It was noted that FADA had purchased additional office space to take care of its growing activities. Members further noted that the additional space would be used for meetings, visiting members and library.

Council decided to hold the 275th Council Meeting in Kolkata on 4th July 2015 and the 51st Annual General Meeting in Vijayawada sometime in September 2015. 

Decision was also taken to hold the next edition of ADEA, viz. ADEA 2015 and Auto Summit 2016 on 6th and 7th February 2016 at New Delhi, coinciding with Auto Expo 2016.

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