KOCHI: Behold, 15 of your popular automobile models are slated to go off sales soon, courtesy incoming stringent safety and emission norms. The Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Programme (BNVSAP) and new emission standards (BS-VI) promulgated by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will come into effect for all new vehicles from April 1, 2019, and 2020, respectively.
Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures spokesperson said as per the directions of the government, BNVSAP will be implemented for all new cars variants from April 1. “The policy mandates features like dual airbags and Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), seat- belt reminders for front passengers, speed alerts and pedestrian protection architecture as a standard feature,” the spokesperson said.
On account of the incoming policies, variants like Maruti Gypsy & Omni, Tata Nano, Sumo Gold and Safari, Fiat Punto, Avventura & Linea, Mahindra NuvoSport, Verito, e2O, eVerito & Xylo, Hyundai Eon and Honda Brio are unlikely to conform to the new safety norms primarily owing to their age-old architecture.
The cost of re-engineering products to meet new standards and insufficient demand for such models are the other reasons prompting manufacturers to drop such variants from their respective product portfolios.
Nano too stares at grim future
Speaking of age, Maruti continued to produce both the Omni and the Gypsy 33 years on, and Tata Motors stalwarts --- the 25-year-old Sumo and 20-year-old Safari --- are still available for sale. What disheartening is to see the only electric passenger vehicles sold in India --- e20 and eVerito --- are also likely to be discontinued, due to similar concerns. Also, the Rs 1 lakh- rupee car Nano, touted to revolutionise transport in India when launched in 2008 --- also meets with a sad demise.
Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, indicated last September in the ongoing process of making India automobile market one of the toughest with regard to safety & emission norms, advanced safety equipment like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) will also be incorporated in new vehicles by 2023.
Its earlier decision to skip BS-V emission norms and jump straight to BS-VI by 2020 to bring India par with global Euro 6 norms was well received. In addition to four-wheelers, safety features like ABS for motorcycles/scooters with 125cc and above are also being made mandatory for two-wheelers from April 1. Two-wheelers account for 72 per cent of automobiles in India, and more than half of the fatalities in road accidents involve two-wheeler riders.
Indian roads are the most dangerous in the world with close to 1.5 lakh reported casualties due to road accidents annually. However, safety measures for roads in general and vehicles in particular, have lagged global standards for decades.