BS-III flash stock clearance: Did everything go hunky-dory?

Industry experts believe that while most sales were genuine, a few dealers could have resorted to fictitious invoicing to buy more time and change the customer details in the bills, while keeping the date of billing the same.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 07 Apr 2017 Views icon10451 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

The automotive industry in the country, especially the two-wheeler side of the things, just witnessed one of its best closing quarters, ended March 31, 2017. The last two days saw a hoard of people flocking showrooms, trying to pick up some great bargains, which were seen being offered on these products. 

The instantly devised stock clearance sale was seen across manufacturers, owing to the Supreme Court’s ruling against the plea of auto companies, seeking permission to allow for the sale of their overall leftover stock of around 825,000 BS-III vehicles in the next fiscal (2017-18) as well, when the entire nation was scheduled to embrace BS IV norms.

Of the total inventory, most of it being considered to be at the dealer stockyards, there was an estimated 671,000 two-wheelers, as on March 20, according to the numbers submitted to the apex body by SIAM.

After the Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) on March 29, two-wheeler dealers across the country galvanised themselves into quick action to make the best utilisation of the next two days at hand so as to minimise losses, which in this case, would be majorly borne by the OEs. Dealers, who are believed to have had sold these products during the last two days at zero margins, are expected to make claims of the discounts from manufacturers and account them in their books in the next quarter.

Discounts, which had already begun from third week of March itself, initially hovered between Rs 2,500-Rs 5,000 and eventually went on to being scaled up to the tune of Rs 12,500 to Rs 20,150 in the entry level and commuter segments, with Honda, Hero MotoCorp and TVS offering maximum offers. The premium segment too wasn’t far away with waivers ranging between Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 on some of the litre-class bikes, coming from the stables of Suzuki Motorcycle India and Triumph Motorcycles.

The sweetness of the deals, which were too good to be true, however, went on to leave a sore taste on the ground.  The news, which spread like wild fire, brought in huge footfalls, along with a lot of chaos and maddening rush outside showrooms, forcing many outlets to bring down their shutters in the first half itself on March 31.

While reports claim that the entire stock was sold out in this extravaganza, chances of foul play could not just simply be written off. 

On venturing out for such a deal in Mumbai on April 1, a certain dealer revealed that there were a few motorcycles still available, and that the billing and registration part would be taken care of with 'settings’ in the RTO.

According to EPCA, there was an assurance from RTOs in Delhi-NCR and the state Transport Department that the registrations of BS-III vehicles was being strictly monitored and that no registrations would be allowed aftert April 7, which was the relaxation given by the court, for a genuine invoice, which dates until March 31.

Industry experts, however, believe that while most of the sales were genuine, in case of BS III products still remaining unsold, a few dealers could have resorted to forged and fictitious invoicing to buy more time so that they could later on change the customer details in the bills, while keeping the date of billing the same.

Chances of such instances happening in case of large-scale dealerships in metropolitan cities like Delhi, where registrations are done online by such establishments themselves, rules out such a possibility because of the technology intervention, but smaller dealerships and smaller cities still leave some scope of getting such non-conforming vehicles billed and even registered, well after the deadline because of the manual processing in place. 

While the stakes at hand were way too high, it can only be believed that the majority would have followed only ethical business practices, ensuring that the transition towards a cleaner tomorrow went without a hitch.

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