BS-IV Compliance: Bajaj Rides Alone
INDUSTRY ARGUES APRIL 1 DEADLINE IS FOR PRODUCTION, NOT FOR SALES
Bajaj Auto MD Rajiv Bajaj argues that no amnesty should be given to peers failing to comply with April 1 deadline
Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, has fired a fresh salvo against industry peers who are lobbying for a grace period in the implementation of new fuel emission norms till old stocks are exhausted.
He termed their plan as “downright cheating“ and said automobile companies had enough time to clear inventory. The government’s cut-off date of April 1 was for sales and registration of Bharat StageIV vehicles and not just for production of vehicles with the new norms, which the rest of the industry would like to interpret to suit their argument, Bajaj said.
“Old habits die hard. Our industry has been conditioned to be pushed and kicked into adhering to new norms,“ Bajaj said. He wanted the the government to send a strong message to the industry by not giving any amnesty. If at all any shortterm relief is given, it should be accompanied with a “sizeable financial penalty“, he said.
BS-IV refers to emission standards set by the Central government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
Bajaj said the two-wheeler maker feels wronged as it made investment for the changeover taking the deadline seriously and is ready with BS-IV compliant vehicles. “We are already selling BS-IV vehicles. Those who have chosen to be complacent will sell their polluting products at lower prices. This is not fair,“ he said.
Bajaj Auto’s peers, however, strongly disagree with the view.
Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said: “Whenever there has been a change in emission norms, it has always been on the basis of date of manufacture.Even this time, the notification is very clear that the pan-India implementation of BS-IV emission norms from April 1, 2017, will be as per the date of manufacture of vehicles and not as per the date of sale or registration.“
SIAM may write to the government on this issue. But Bajaj said that his company will ask the industry body to exclude it from among the signatories to the letter.
With Bajaj factories producing BS-IV ve hicles, which will cost about Rs 1,000 to Rs 7,000 more, there is a fear that his compe titors with BS-III models may enjoy a pri ce advantage in the market. “We cannot always be a mute spectator,“ Bajaj added.
According to him, this time the govern ment had set two deadlines. From April 1, 2016, new products had to be BS-IV compliant. The second deadline, of April 1, 2017, was only for old models. So a year was good enough to be ready.
“The industry is used to take the government for granted and the government is often buckling under pressure,“ he said.
Bajaj said the solution for those companies is to shut down their factories till they exhaust stocks. They are carrying a maximum stock of four to five weeks, and the industry still has six weeks to comply with the norms.