The auto industry, it turns out, is a responsible corporate citizen

By Dhruv Behl | on June 4, 2020

The current pandemic has shown the automotive industry to be a very responsible corporate citizen. 

Across the board, from car and bike-makers to component manufacturers, it’s been heartening to see the entire industry roll up their sleeves in the fight against Covid-19. From manufacturing PPE kits and protective gear to the distribution of food and making generous donations, the industry has been working like a well-oiled machine to help ward off this pandemic. While the fight is far from over, the industry is now rolling up its sleeves to get back to the task of selling cars and bikes – and it’s approaching this mission with all guns blazing as well.   

After a quiet few months, the launches are coming thick and fast. Already, we’ve seen Hyundai launch the updated Verna, VW launches the Polo & Vento with a new TSI motor, Skoda undertakes three launches at once and Mercedes with a pair of tarmac shredding AMGs. And that’s just the beginning! 

In the second ‘wave’ of our #WorkFromHome interviews, we picked up quite a few interesting titbits of information. Kia, fresh from their World Car of the Year win for the brand-new Telluride SUV, will consider this as a possible flagship for India. Kia is, of course, in the middle of planning the launch of its next SUV for India – the Sonet – to compete with the Hyundai Venue. 

The Toyota interview with Senior VP Naveen Soni turned up an unexpected – and rather joyous – a piece of news when he said that Toyota could well consider two of its most exciting sports cars for India, the GT86 and Supra. While Toyota is, of course, well known as the purveyor of sensible transportation, it’s important to remember that Akio Toyoda is very much a racer as well. And he’s not just Chairman, but also Toyota’s ‘Master Driver’ – i.e. Chief Test Driver. So, it’s no wonder that the current crop of Toyota’s drive better than ever before. And that’s even truer for their sports cars. 

The GT86 is simply one of the purest sports cars I’ve driven in a very long time. And, sure, the new Supra is actually a BMW Z4 in a party dress, but I happen to think that it drives better than the car it’s based on. So, it’s no surprise that I’m salivating at the thought of sampling either machine on our roads. Personally, though, I would prefer a manual version of the current GT86 (just in case Toyota’s listening). 

Naveen did, however, point out that the (relatively recent) rule that allows 2,500 cars to be imported into India without homologation isn’t exactly straightforward. While one ministry has issued this directive, another ministry requires that certain parts nonetheless be tested locally – making a manufacturer think twice about taking advantage of this statute.  

I’m afraid that it’s a case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. Kind of like our response to (the unwittingly named) migrant crisis – but that’s a whole other editorial… 

You can download our June issue here

Also read - The word 'unprecedented' is finally getting judicious use

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Tags: Automotive industry Coronavirus

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