The discussions and debate over the interpretation of the BS IV deadline continues to grow as the April 1 deadline approaches. SIAM, the apex automobile manufacturers association, says that the government notification states that only BS IV-compliant vehicles should be manufactured from April 1. The industry body is following only the production deadline.
However, against the backdrop of a call by Bajaj Auto against any "amnesty" to BS III vehicles after April 1, Vinod Dasari, president, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), told Autocar Professional that early adopters of BS IV should be applauded and incentivised but penalty cannot be imposed on industry players who meet the BS IV production deadline of April 1 but may sell some BS III products remaining in the inventory post April 1. SIAM, he says, will not support any player indulging in any action that's not in line with the law. The fiscal incentive approach could also help negate the price disadvantage that BS IV products will have against their BS III competitors in the marketplace. Dasari also points out that all deadlines for introduction of new emission norms around teh world have been according to production date.
Even though it has been the same in India so far, Bajaj Auto's managing director Rajiv Bajaj, on Wednesday said that the current situation cannot be compared with what has always been "when the conditions are different". He says that Bajaj Auto falls in the "minority" of players which are interpreting the April 1 deadline as the date from whereon all vehicles on sale should be BS IV-compliant. Bajaj says, in this regard he has company in Toyota Kirloskar Motor's Vikram Kirloskar, whose dealerships have already started selling BS IV-compliant vehicles. Daimler India Commercial Vehicles' MD and CEO Erich Nesselhauf said on Thursday that "There is no acceptable reason for any delay, as everyone in the industry had enough time to get ready for the transition."
Dasari says the March 31 deadline of stopping production BS III vehicles should be strictly met, and there should not be any hoarding of BS III vehicles by any player. Bajaj had earlier stated that "it could be that BS III stocks will be available for 6 months" for some, depending on the sales performance.
Nesselhauf on Thursday took a dig at Indian commercial vehicle makers by saying, “Continuing discussions on BS4 are reflecting obvious attempts of some players in the Indian commercial vehicle industry to dilute this upcoming transition of emissions standards.” DICV plans to manufacture only BS IV vehicles from next month.
Dasari, who is also the managing director of Ashok Leyland, India's second largest commercial vehicle maker, points out that Indian CV players have been manufacturing BS IV-compliant vehicles (for select markets) since 2010. "Indian CV companies have not been manufacturing BS IV vehicles (only) because of lack of fuel availability, not because of lack of capability," he says.
Tata Motors, India's leading commercial vehicle maker, says that it is well prepared to meet the April 1 deadline to shift to BS IV though it doesn't specify the inventory level of its BS III vehicles. "We are well placed with our BS III stocks and all our vehicles will be BS IV compliant by April 1, 2017," says Ravi Pisharody, executive director, Commercial Vehicles, Tata Motors.