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Automakers rush to turn portfolios BS-VI compliant

While some like market leader Maruti Suzuki have already turned most products BS-VI compliant, others are expected to follow suit over the next five months

Published: 18th October 2019 09:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2019 09:39 AM   |  A+A-

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India’s Activa 125 BS-VI launch in September attended by Union Minister for Transport Nitin Gadkari was just one of several such launches made by Indian automakers over the past few months.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India’s Activa 125 BS-VI launch in September attended by Union Minister for Transport Nitin Gadkari was just one of several such launches made by Indian automakers over the past few months. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

With a little over five months remaining before the implementation of newer emission norms on April 1, 2020, automakers are frantically shifting production from BS-IV compliant vehicles to BS-VI compliant models. While some players have already turned most of their portfolio into BS-VI compliant models, like India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) and new entrant Kia Motor, which began it’s India journey with the BS-VI engine fitted SUV Seltos, other leading manufacturers are all set to do same over the next 3-4 months. 

Bharat Stage VI is next stage of emission norms that all vehicles in the country will have to adhere to from April 1, 2020. The sale of BS-IV vehicles will also cease from this day, according to the plan, and switch is expected to disrupt both sales and production schedules for the sector. 

Two-wheelers
Two-wheeler and three-wheeler major Bajaj Auto, for instance, will commence the production of BS-VI vehicles from next month and be fully compliant by February. The company’s managing director Rajiv Bajaj, while speaking at the launch of company’s first electric scooter Chetak, said that the transformation to BS-VI will make vehicles more expensive and that the government should consider giving relief at the time to the industry in the form of a GST rate cut. 

Besides Bajaj, the country’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp is expected to launch the BS-VI compliant Splendor iSmart 110 soon. Last month, the company had started dispatching the first batch of the updated model to its dealers for product familiarisation and training purposes. In June 2019, Hero became the first two-wheeler manufacturer in the country to receive the BS-VI certification from the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT).Its rival, Japanese two-wheeler maker Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India, has also started deliveries of the BS-VI variant of the Honda Activa 125 from its launch on September 11, 2019 at a starting price of `67,490.  

Passenger vehicles
In the passenger vehicle segment, MSIL has already sold over two lakh BS-VI compliant vehicles to date, with the company having launched the fully compliant Alto 800 and Baleno in April 2019, almost one full year before the government’s stipulated BS-VI rollout of April 2020. It now has a wide range of BS-VI compliant models like Alto 800, Baleno, WagonR (1.2-litre), Swift, Dzire, Ertiga and the recently launched XL6 and S-Presso. 

Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO, MSIL said, “We believe that mass adoption is one of the most important factors for the success of any new technology. Offering eight BS-VI compliant petrol vehicles in the mass segment, much ahead of the timeline, has helped us to reach this technology to a larger customer base.”

Other carmakers including Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors have already drawn their respective production schedules for BS-VI compliant cars and SUVs. Korean carmaker Hyundai has also joined the race, launching a facelift of its popular hatchback i10 with a BS-VI engine. 

Commercial vehicles
In the commercial vehicle segment, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles on Wednesday announced that it has rolled out its first Bharat BS-VI heavy-duty powertrain from its manufacturing facility at Oragadam. Other segment majors have also announced similar intentions to convert portfolios to BS-VI by the time the deadline comes around. 

According to experts, the price of petrol variants post the transition to BS-VI norms is expected to see a surge of around 10 per cent while diesel counterparts are expected to be 15-18 per cent more expensive due to the higher cost of upgradation. Moreover, selling out the older BS-IV inventory and availability of BS-VI fuels also remains a challenge. It is in this context that the sector’s industry lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), has requested state-run oil marketing companies to provide BS-VI grade fuel at least 30-45 days ahead of the scheduled deadline for a smooth shift. 

Prices of BS-VI compliant models to be much higher that older variants

According to experts, the price of petrol variants post the transition to BS-VI norms is expected to see a surge of around 10 per cent while diesel counterparts are expected to be 15-18 per cent more expensive. 

Bharat Stage VI is next stage of emission norms that all vehicles in the country will have to adhere to from April 1, 2020. The sale of BS-IV vehicles will also cease from this day, according to the plan. 



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