At a time when the country is expecting a complete transition from Bharat Stage IV emission standards to Bharat Stage VI by April, and many manufacturers are in the process of launching the BS VI versions, India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki has said that it has sold more BS VI cars during April 2019 to February 2020, than the total BS IV cars sold during the same period.
It has sold over 700,000 units of BS VI vehicles between April 2019 and February 2020, higher than total of 659,000 BS IV cars sold during the same period. "Early transition to BS VI has also helped our dealer partners, as they do not have to worry about last-minute liquidation of BS IV stock," senior company officials said.
C V Raman, Senior Executive Director and Member of Executive Board, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd ,said his firm had started working on upgrading its engines to BS VI in 2016 after the government announced the plan for transition by 2020. At that time, Indian auto sector hadn't even shifted to BS IV completely.
In the past two years, Maruti increased its manpower to work on BS VI transition projects by 1.5 times. It has 12 emission labs now, from four earlier. Maruti has conducted over 11,000 emission tests across 14 models, and also borrowed facilities from test agencies such as ICAT and ARAI for testing vehicles to remain ahead in this transition.
"Our teams along with supplier partners worked hard to ensure that we offer our customers the convenience of buying technologically-advanced BSVI compliant cars ahead of schedule. Best-selling mass models such as Alto and Baleno were upgraded with BS6 petrol engines in April 2019 nearly an year in-advance," said Raman.
This was closely followed by other popular models such as WagonR, Swift and Dzire in June 2019; Ertiga in July 2019; XL6 in August 2019, S-PRESSO in September 2019; Eeco, Celerio, Super Carry, Ciaz in January 2020 and Vitara Brezza, IGNIS in February 2020.
This gave the company an early mover advantage and certainly benefitted the Company. This has also helped company's dealer partners, as they do not have to worry for last minute liquidation of BS IV stock. As such no fire sales from Maruti Suzuki. The company has less than 1,000 BS4 cars in its network.
Indian automobile dealers have been asking Apex Court to allow them to sell BS-IV vehicles post March 31 since inventory levels are high due to lower footfalls on the backdrop of economic slowdown, Covid-19 issues.
The entire range of Maruti Suzuki petrol cars are now BS VI compliant. As mentioned above, we started selling BS6 variants from April 2019. The response has been positive and overwhelming.
Speaking about the cost, he said, cost of upgrading a BS IV petrol car to one with BS VI compliant petrol engine costs between Rs 8,000 and Rs 12,000.
Commenting on whether Maruti will reconsider its decision to stop selling diesel vehicles, he said, the Company will continue to monitor customer feedback on competition’s diesel BS VI.
Currently, all petrol models offered by Maruti Suzuki are BS6 compliant. The Company announced in April 2019 that it would phase-out diesel cars after BS6 implementation in April 2020.
On the impact of Covid-19 in supply chai, Raman said, he do not foresee any problem as of now.