John K Paul Elected President of Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations

At the Council Meeting held on 23rd September 2016 at Kochi, John K Paul was elected as the President of Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA). John K Paul is the first automobile dealer from the State of Kerala to be elected as President of FADA since its inception in 1964. Transport Minister of Kerala, Mr. A K Saseendran also attended the meeting.

Managing one of the largest groups engaged in retail automobile trade in India, John K Paul is the MD of Popular Vehicles and Services Ltd, one of the largest networks for Maruti in the country. He is the Managing Trustee of Kuttukaran Foundation running the Kuttukaran Institute for Human Resources Development.

John K Paul is an Engineering Graduate from the Regional Engineering College, Calicut. He is one among the board of trustees of TIE Global – world’s largest organisation fostering Entrepreneurship. He was the President of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce & Industry and was the past president of TIE Kerala. He is, currently the President of Kerala Automobile Dealers Association.

He has been actively associated with FADA for the last 5-6 years and was FADA’s Vice President for two years during 2014-16 and Hon. Secretary during 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Speaking after his election as President, John K Paul said:

“Automobile market and, for that matter, auto retail trade is set for a big change. Revolutionary changes are already sweeping the automobile market in this competitive environment. The market is in for a large scale disruption in the next 5-6 years due to the advent of Internet & telecommunication in a big way and the biggest tax reform in the Indian history, viz. GST that is set to be implemented effective from April 2017.

The automotive market in India over the years has evolved from being a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. However, the automobile dealers have the comfort of operating in protected territories. With the proliferation of Internet and the businesses taking to the digital platform in a big way, the automobile market is set to see a radical transformation in the way it operates and the vehicles are sold. It will, in the process, obliterate boundaries and unify the fragmented market into single common market. We are already witnessing that 80% of the customers search on the Internet for the product mix, specifications, prices, performance parameters and other technological & comfort features to identify the vehicles suiting their needs and to zero in on the dealerships they would like to buy their vehicle from.

There is no gain saying that the growing e-commerce is a major challenge for the brick and mortar automobile dealerships. The automobile dealerships need to adopt digital platform to stand up to the challenge posed by e-commerce.

The automobile dealerships also need to gear up for upgrading their technical skill sets, as India moves to BS VI standards and stringent safety norms, which require quantum jump in the technology, necessitating increasing use of computer chips and electronics content in vehicles.

GST is going to be another game-changer in the way business is conducted. While there are certain apprehensions within the automobile dealer community about the GST law as proposed, we are hopeful that the introduction of GST will remove many hassles and cascading effect of taxes in the present tax regime. FADA will conduct a series of workshops/seminars across the country to educate the members of automobile dealer fraternity on the implications of GST.

Of various issues confronting the automobile dealers currently, variation in road tax and registration procedure for vehicles in different States remain a cause of concern for FADA and automobile dealers. The divergence in taxes not only gives rise to unhealthy practices but also leads to undue diversion of trade from one State to another. FADA would like to have uniform road tax across States. An Empowered Group of State Transport Ministers could be constituted to bring about uniformity in road tax across States.”

John Paul assured that he and his team would work closely with the concerned authorities in the Centre & States, OEMs and other stakeholders to promote the sustainable growth & development of auto sector.

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