Indian automotive industry is on the cusp of a new technological innovation and, by April 2020, vehicles sold in this country will be matching those sold anywhere in the world in terms of safety, emissions and fuel efficiency, according to Pawan Goenka, Executive Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

“The coming four years will be an exciting period for the auto industry in terms of innovation and R & D as new safety, emission and rating norms will come into effect,” Mr. Goenka said.

“There are challenges but certainly the industry will manage. Our vehicle technology will be at par with the international benchmarks and it is a matter of pride for all us that within a period of four years, we will graduate to this level as against the 10-12 years of time span taken by other countries in the world,” he said.

Explaining Mahindra’s preparedness, he said that the company in the past not just brought technology from outside for its vehicles but also made some innovation on the way and developed solutions that were better, less expensive and more affordable in the Indian context and yet gave the same results of the Western world. The company is betting on its in-house R & D and innovation for meeting the new regulatory norms.

Mahindra had already incorporated the necessary changes in its vehicles to meet the safety norms that would come into effect in 2017 besides working on making some changes to meet the star rating norms.

While it managed to achieve a lot of things pertaining to safety and rating through in-house innovation, it sees some challenges relating to BS VI emission norms.

“BS VI technology is an advanced one. It is not possible to develop that in-house. So the base technology may come from Europe and it has to be made suitable for the domestic market through domestic innovation.

“Also, the big challenge in BS VI is to keep the costs under control. If we go with present cost structure, it will result in vehicle price increase by about Rs.1.5 lakh on a small vehicle. We are strongly focused on cutting costs. Of course time line (April 2020) is very tight. But, it is not something that we are worried or concerned about. We are confident of the future,” said Mr.Goenka.

Mahindra has already made some start relating to BS VI technology. It has done some work for its sport utility vehicle XUV 5OO. “We have to do it for almost 6-8 different platforms and 3 or 4 different engines. Right now we have done it for one platform and one engine. But that technology is well-understood now,” he said.