British automotive marque Morris Garages, which is in the process of establishing full scale operations in India, will wait for policy clarity on electric vehicles before finalising plans for the segment in the country, according to a top company official. MG Motor India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China’s largest automaker SAIC Motor Corp that owns the brand, aims to launch its first product in 2019 and follow it up with another a year later. It has already taken over General Motor’s Halol plant in Gujarat where is has earmarked investment upwards of Rs 2,000 crore to refurbish it to have an initial installed capacity of 85,000 units.
“On electric vehicles, I just want to say one thing that we will wait for more clarity, policy and regulation to come,” MG Motor India President and Managing Director Rajeev Chaba told PTI. He was responding to query on the company’s plans for EVs as it was entering India at a time when the government has been pushing for an all-electric fleet by 2030. “Speaking about capability and intention… MG and SAIC are more than capable to launch any kind of electric vehicle anywhere in the world, including India,” Chaba said.
Reiterating the need for policy clarity on the front, he added, “But we need to wait for details to come then we need to study and then we need to have a plan.” It is just not the electric vehicle. It is the whole ecosystem and infrastructural details, which the government has to come out with clearly, Chaba added. He clarified that the first lot of products that the company plans to introduce from 2019 is not going to feature electric powertrains. “The first product is not going to be electric for sure but yes, as and when details come we would be part of that story. We will participate in the segment when the government clarifies,” Chaba said.
When asked if the company is prepared for the new set of regulations that are going to be ushered in, Chaba said that they are “more than ready”. “We are ready…no problem for us…this is the positive side of being a late entrant as we know what norms we have to comply,” he added. Safety standards, including that of occupants and pedestrians, along with CAFE (corporate average fuel efficiency) norms are set to kick in beginning this month till 2020, when India is set to adopt BS VI emission norms.
On Halol plant, Chaba said the company is trying to bring international suppliers to create jobs on the ground. MG sells a range of products, including hatchback MG3 and SUV MG GS in the European market. SAIC had earlier this year signed a term sheet to evaluate buying the Halol plant of General Motors in Gujarat after the American company decided to stop production as part of consolidation of manufacturing operations in India. On May 18, General Motors suddenly decided to stop selling its vehicles in India as there was no turnaround in its fortunes here after struggling for over two decades to make a mark.