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It was only in 2019 that the famous British marque MG Motors made an entry into India, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that it has since taken the Indian market by storm. In a year when most carmakers, Indian or otherwise, have witnessed a slump in sales, the MG Hector, dubbed as India’s first-ever connected car, has been topping the sales charts since its launch.

Auto Futures caught up with Gaurav Gupta, Chief Commercial Officer, MG Motor India, to know what it has planned for the Indian market.

MG was one of the first automakers to bring connected car technology to India. I was curious to know what role has this played in the company’s success as a new entrant in the Indian market, and if presence of connected car features influence a customer’s choice when buying a car.

Gupta agrees that offering connected technology was a differentiated value proposition that has served as a key USP for MG in the Indian market.

He told me: “Pioneering connected cars that come equipped with embedded M2M and OTA capabilities, such as MG’s HECTOR and ZS EV, have opened up an entire gamut of differentiated experiences for consumers in India. The value proposition of internet cars revolves around three core aspects: better security/safety, better utility, and better in-car entertainment.

“In essence, our customers are a part of an interactive, immersive ecosystem that is built around their needs and extends beyond their vehicles. This paves the way for a unique, enhanced ownership experience that is finding favor with the millennial car-buying audience and is already playing a critical role in the final purchase decision.”

According to Gupta, connected technology will most definitely be a part of its future launches.

“Connected technologies are already defining the present and the future of the automotive industry. They are driving MG’s four pillars of innovation, community, experiences, and diversity in India. Everything – from our products and services to our end-user engagement – is powered by our focus on leveraging cutting-edge technology and it will continue to play a key role in all brand developments moving forward.” 

When asked whether he sees connected technologies such as V2X and I2V, as well as connected infrastructure being deployed in India in the near future, Gupta seemed positive.

He elaborates: “As a fast-developing market, India has a tremendous headroom for the growth of vehicle ownership. We foresee this growth being driven by the novel experiences and value propositions that connected technologies enable – and MG Motor India is well-poised to capitalize on the opportunity.

“With the launch of the Hector in 2019, MG became the first automotive brand to democratize 4G connectivity in the Indian market. The advent of advanced technologies such as 5G connectivity has opened avenues for a plethora of new features not only for Indian customers but also for us as a tech-centric automotive brand. Currently, all of our India offerings come equipped with advanced M2M and IPv6 capabilities to ensure 5G readiness.”

Gupta adds: “We are closely evaluating the latest market developments and opportunities to ensure that MG customers continue to enjoy the most superlative and unique connected experiences.” 

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Developing EV charging infrastructure in India

MG Motors India has tasted a lot of success with the launch of their first EV in India. But since the company is now establishing itself as a strong contender in the India’s electric race, I asked Gupta what he thought of the EV market in the country.

“While the Indian government has set ambitious targets to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, especially for government use and public transport, we feel that more needs to be done by the government to promote EVs for private customers. The time is right for such an intervention, as the market and consumers are ready for a shift to green mobility.”

This reflects in the growing demand for cutting-edge EVs in the country. 

“Going forward, we hope that the government will roll out the right policy, incentives, and charging infrastructure to put more EVs on the road. It should also look into providing incentives to stakeholders to facilitate an ecosystem for sourcing critical raw materials for batteries in India,” he says.

“At our end, we have been working towards building a strong, pan-India ecosystem by partnering with domain-leading players in the clean energy space to cater to the needs of our customers. We are developing a 5-step charging ecosystem for a comprehensive range of EV charging use-cases. For instance, every ZS EV comes with an on-board cable that can be used to charge the car via any 15A line.

“We have partnered with eChargeBays to install AC fast chargers, completely free-of-cost, at the homes/offices of our customers and have also installed 50 kW superfast DC chargers at MG dealerships across Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad. We are also building an AC fast-charging network to cover MG dealerships in select satellite cities along key routes and are exploring opportunities to provide charge-on-the-go as part of our Roadside Assistance (RSA) service.”

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EV Adoption in India

I wanted to know if Gupta thought that the government was doing enough to accelerate the adoption of EVs in the country following the launch of the FAME II scheme, to which Gupta said that there was scope for more to be done.

“The recent announcements by the Indian government on the promotion of EVs in India, especially for government use and public transport, indicate that it is focusing on putting more electric vehicles on the road. Along with switching to BS-VI emission norms, it has provided a number of progressive incentives such as the tax relief of INR 1.5 lakh on purchase of EVs by private customers.

“We believe that these measures will urge more Indian customers to purchase EVs and eventually make the adoption of EVs in the country inevitable in the long run,” he notes.

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We are currently setting the demand for EV and EV battery manufacturing in India,

By expanding its reach to future mobility trends such as connected, autonomous, carsharing, electric, to name only a few, MG Motors India has successfully managed to break away from the image of being a traditional carmaker to be a new-age mobility company.

It recently teased Level 3 Autonomous driving when it showcased the Marvel X at the Indian Auto Expo 2020. It has also tied up with car rental service, Myles, to offer the Hector on a subscription basis in select metro cities including Delhi, Mumbai & Bangalore.

“Our philosophy is to make the most advanced global technology and latest features available to our customers. The objective is to democratize the latest in mobility technology and make it accessible to consumers in the mass market segments, said Gupta.

When asked about what’s next on the electric front, Gupta concluded by saying: “We are currently setting the demand for EV and EV battery manufacturing in India. A cost-efficient EV, especially in the sub-INR 10 lakh bracket, is the next logical move. However, relevant decisions will be made at a later stage after reviewing the market demand.”

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