The automobile industry in India is making superior quality cars for the export markets while making humbler cars for the Indian market, which is unfair says Kenneth D’Souza, consultant, International Zinc Association (IZA), Canada.
The car models exported from India use galvanised steel for the car body as the regulations there demand it while the cars in India use coated steel as no such regulatory framework exists here, adds D’Souza.
“For exports, 70% of the body-in-white is galvanised while for domestic models only 3% is galvanised and in some new models it is up to 20% galvanised,” D’Souza said. “All car models exported from India are galvanised as per the regulatory norms mandated by US/ Europe, but the same car models are not galvanised for Indian market, which is the 6th largest market in the world. This unfairness is quite alarming. The overall benefit to the automaker to convert the 400 kilogram car body-in-white from cold rolled steel to galvanneal is estimated to offset the material and processing cost,” D’Souza said. “Car makers in Europe, North America, Korea and Japan have been using galvanised steel for body panels for decades. Their cars get 12 year anti-corrosion and perforation warranties. While there is no such protection for cars made for Indian consumers. Here customers have to pay for extra coatings to protect the underbody and teflon and keep spending on maintenance. This also affects the residual value of the car,” he said. Galvanizing is controlled coating of zinc on steel which offers steel protection from corrosion.This adds to the cost of the car by around R5,000 to R10,000.
A study done by IIT-Mumbai showed that cars that were 5+ years old suffered from imperfections, blistering and surface rust. “More than 60% of the cars in the country have a problem of surface rust which reduced steel strength, affects car safety, causes more emissions and reduce fuel efficiency,” says professor A S Khanna of IIT-Mumbai.