Maruti Suzuki Sceptical About Indian Government's BS-VI Fuel Plans

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Maruti Suzuki is not too enthusiastic about the latest BS-VI auto fuel emission norms and the company believes that this will not bring any perceptible change in air quality but may increase car prices by anywhere between ₹ 20,000 to ₹ 2 lakh. This comes after the Indian government decided to leapfrop fuel quality regulations from BS-IV to BS-VI by April 2020.

Maruti Suzuki Chairman RC Bhargava said it will be a challenge to upgrade technologies to meet BS VI norms in just 4 years, while also stating that cars contribute only 2 per cent to the overall pollution.

Citing a study by IIT Kanpur, Bhargava told PTI: "Cars contribute only 2 per cent to the overall pollution, while 98 per cent is from other sources. So, people should not be surprised when they don't see any perceptible change in air quality even after implementation of Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) norms."

He further said: "While we all should be concerned about air pollution, by concentrating 90 per cent of our energy on source that is responsible for only 2 per cent of pollution, are we addressing the real issue?"

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Automobile manufacturers will have to work with engine control unit (ECU) and fuel injection systems makers to upgrade to meet the new requirements of particulate matter and NOx emissions simultaneously, he said.

He further suggested, "This has to be done separately in a customised manner for each vehicle model and the 4-year timeline will be a challenge to meet."

When asked by how much car prices could go up, he said: "It is too early to say by how much. It will all be guess work, it can be anywhere between ₹ 20,000 to ₹ 1 lakh or even ₹ 2 lakh."

Expressing similar views, PriceWaterhouse Partner and auto expert Abdul Majeed said: "The car price increase due to shift from BS-IV to BS-VI will not be too much in case of petrol vehicles. The increase will be anyway between ₹ 10,000-20,000. For diesel cars, it will be in the range of ₹ 80,000-1,20,000 and for trucks it will be ₹ 1.5-2 lakh."

Most of the automakers will get impacted because everyone has significant number of diesel vehicles in their overall product portfolio and the impact will be much more for SUV manufactures whose line-ups mainly consist of diesel vehicles, he added.

In a bid to curb vehicular pollution, the government has decided to implement stricter emission norms of BS-VI from April 1, 2020 by skipping BS-V altogether.

At present, BS IV norms are followed in parts of India and by April 1, 2017, the whole of the country is scheduled to be covered under it.

Currently, BS-IV auto fuels are being supplied in the whole of north India which covers Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, parts of Rajasthan, and western UP. The rest of the country runs on BS-III grade fuel.

From April 1, 2016, all of Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, and Union Territories of Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Andaman and Nicobar will get BS-IV fuel.

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