India drives into BS 6 era with air pollution control in mind
India is all set to enter the strict BS 6 emission era from Tuesday midnight with Indian automobile industry pumping in around ₹70,0000 crore in the last four years to upgrade its technology.
While auto companies put in around ₹40,000 crore to upgrade their facilities and products, the auto component industry chipped in with an investment of ₹30,000 crore for the same.
Originally, automobile manufacturers across segments were to not produce or sell BS 4 vehicles from midnight tonight, although the Supreme Court recently allowed sale and registration of BS 4 vehicles for ten days after the end of the ongoing lockdown.
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Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) President Deepak Jain said the auto components industry invested around ₹30,000 crore for migrating to BS 6 regime.
In the long-term, the changeover to stricter emission norms would be beneficial for the country, but in short-term it would bring pain in terms of price escalation to an industry which is already reeling under a slowdown and now the lockdown due to coronavirus pandemic, he added.
"Besides this, we also need initiatives like scrappage policy at the earliest to chuck out old polluting vehicles from roads," Jain said.
Reflecting upon the company's journey of upgrading to stricter emission norms, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Senior Executive Director and Member of Executive Board CV Raman said the auto major conducted over 11,000 emission tests across 14 models, besides spending hundreds of hours on engine calibration and validations.
"All of these efforts helped us in phasing out BS 4 systematically and we are glad to share that we barely have any BS 4 inventory left. We were able to liquidate all our BS 4 stock and hence there is no need for any fire sales from Maruti," Raman said.
The company had upgraded its mass models such as Alto and Baleno with BS 6 petrol engines in April 2019. This was closely followed by other models.
MSI stopped production of BS 4 vehicles in January 2020. In fact, the auto major has already sold over 7.5 lakh BS 6 units till date.
Similarly, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Senior Vice President Naveen Soni said the company's vehicles turned compliant to BS 6 norms well ahead of time.
"We have been successful in upgrading our vehicles to BS 6 technology before the stipulated timelines, thereby allowing us to focus on the production and sale of BS 6 vehicles," he noted.
Various other carmakers including Honda, Hyundai and Tata Motors have also worked towards making their products BS 6 compliant.
Similarly, various two-wheeler companies and commercial vehicle players have also announced transition to BS 6 norms.
On a petition filed by auto dealers' body FADA, the Supreme Court on March 27 allowed the sale of unsold stock of BS 4 vehicles for 10 days after the expiry of the lockdown period, except in Delhi-NCR.
The Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) had sought additional time of two months to clear the BS 4 inventory.
The nationwide lockdown imposed on March 24 to check spread of coronavirus will last till April 14.
The government in 2016 had asked automobile industry to upgrade to BS 6 norms by April 1, 2020.
The short deadline was unprecedented anywhere in the world as it was a leap from BS 4 to BS 6.
Deteriorating air pollution situation in various cities, including Delhi-NCR, was one of the prominent reason to usher in stricter emission norms in the country.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ordered that no Bharat Stage 4 (BS 4) vehicle shall be sold across the country with effect from April 1, 2020.
The apex court was deciding whether grace period should be given to automobile manufacturers for sale of BS 6 non-compliant vehicles after April 1, 2020.