Govt's red signal for new two-wheeler models in Delhi

Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, the country's third largest two-wheeler maker chose Delhi to unveil his company's new motorcycle V15 last month. Ironically, the bike cannot be sold in New Delhi because the transport authorities have not given their approval. The Delhi transport department is not permitting registration of new models of two-wheelers that comply with Bharat Stage (BS) III emission norms, affecting companies like Bajaj Auto, Royal Enfield and Suzuki.

India follows the BS-III norms for two-wheelers and BS-III and IV for passenger vehicles. Beginning April 1, 2016, all new models of two-wheelers need to comply with BS-IV norms. Existing models that are launched till March 31 need to upgrade to BS-IV from April 1, 2017. BS-III two-wheelers are more polluting than BS-IV.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi had exempted two-wheeler during its experiment with vehicle use restrictions for fifteen days in January. But it has now stopped allowing new two-wheeler models from being registered without an official order. When contacted, a Delhi-based Bajaj dealer suggested buyers could book the V15 in Haryana. Bajaj Auto did not respond to email queries.

Suresh Babu, national head (marketing and product planning) at Suzuki Motorcycle, said two new models of the company (Access and Hayate) were awaiting approval from the authorities. "No valid reason has been given to us. Under the Central Motor Vehicle Rules, registration cannot be stopped like this," he said.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) has raised the matter with the office of the transport commissioner in the Delhi government, but it did not receive a response.

Siam's request for an appointment was also not granted.

"The stoppage of registration of new models of BS-III two-wheelers is causing financial loss to manufacturers in the absence of any clarity from the transport department," Siam said in a letter last Friday. BS-IV comes into effect from April 1 and registering BS-III models may become next to impossible then.

The industry is seeking approval for registration of BS-III two-wheelers till BS-IV is notified. Officials said request for approvals to register BS-III scooters and motorcycles were pending with the Delhi transport department since December.

Royal Enfield's Himalayan is being launched on Wednesday but it is understood that the motorcycle does not have an approval to sell in Delhi. A company spokesperson did not comment.

Delhi is a growing market for two wheelers. A total of 378,862 two-wheelers were sold in the city in the year ended March 31, 2015. While this is just about two per cent of the country's total two-wheeler sales, Delhi is a market where companies mostly sell premium products.

SLIPPERY RIDE Bajaj's V15, Suzuki's Access & Hayate and Royal Enfield's Himalayan among two-wheelers impacted
  378,862 two-wheelers sold in Delhi last year
  BS-IV norm for two-wheelers to come into effect April 1, 2016
  Existing two-wheelers need to upgrade to BS-IV from April 1, 2017