Calling the increased regulatory scrutiny around MG Motor India a 'consequence of geopolitical tensions', the run-ins that the Chinese-owned British car brand has had with the Indian government is part of the 'occupational hazard' that it faces while operating in India, Rajeev Chaba, president and managing director, MG Motor India tells Fortune India. "It is an occupational hazard. You don't want it to happen, but these are realities of life," he says.
MG Motor India—which is owned by state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) Motor—has seen the regulatory noose tighten around its operations, as Indian regulators are coming down heavily on Chinese companies operating in India. However, "We want to be a sizeable player, at least in the new energy space. We are quite confident that we will deliver, but yes, we need a good ecosystem to support our growth. Not just literal growth, we feel that we’re adding value to the Indian automobile industry, and we want to add more value," he says.
While geopolitically the situation between India and China remains precarious, Chaba says that on business, MG Motor India has been adding a lot of value, with a strong foundation. "We are bringing EVs to the country, we are also localising batteries. We have disrupted the industry by raising the bar in a few areas," he explains. Chaba says the company has partnered with 30 colleges across the country to nurture students—teaching them about EVs and connected car technologies. "We're only a small player in the country—only 1.5% market share—but we're punching above our weight," he says.
Chaba mentions the company is in the process of indigenising production. "We're doing lots of localisation. We have also shifted some of the supplies to India. For instance, we're now sourcing our chips from Bosch India instead of Bosch China," he says. According to him, the government is also taking cognisance of which company is contributing to the 'Make in India' initiative; which company is localising, and is then taking a call on individual companies. "It also depends on which sector you are operating in—whether it is sensitive or not. For instance, telecom is different, automobile is different."
The solid foundations, according to him, that the company has laid, has reaped benefits which have received recognition. "We are number one in customer satisfaction—both sales and after-sales. We are also working on the diversity front—37% of our workforce consists of women," he says. Chaba also claims that the 37% figure is one of the best globally, but the company will not stop there. "We want to take it to 50%. We are among the top three in the dealer satisfaction surveys as well; we have also fared well in employee satisfaction," he says. This, according to Chaba, is giving all stakeholders a compelling reason to be a part of the company’s journey, and on the sustainability front, it is giving the government a compelling reason with its collaborations with different institutes of higher learning—namely IIT Delhi.