Tata Motors aims to export about 8,000 BS-III commercial vehicles

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Tata Motors, the most impacted company by last month's Supreme Court ban on registration of vehicles meeting BS-III emission standards, said it might be exporting at least half of its 15,000 impacted light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles (CVs).

For the rest, it is hoping the industry will get a window of opportunity from the court.

"The stock with our dealers is (now) close to nil. The bulk of the 15,000 vehicles we have in stocks is skewed towards light CVs. We have done an analysis and can easily export around 8,000," said Ravindra Pisharody, executive director at the country's biggest CV company.

He said the remaining vehicles could be converted at minimal cost but they were not doing so 'immediately'. "SIAM (the industry association) and the government are exploring a small window (with the Supreme Court's permission) to sell the BS-III vehicles," he added.

The SC last month ended sale and registration of all BS-III vehicles from April 1, a date by when manufacturers were supposed to begin manufacture of only BS-IV vehicles.

The company said it sold BS-III vehicles in January, for which it had service obligations. "In cases where the cost of conversion is more than 30-40 per cent of the cost, we will not go for it. We will cannibalise these and use the parts to meet these obligations. Parts like gears, steering, seats and tyres, etc, can be used." Pisharody would not comment on the financial impact of converting the stocks.

On Wednesday, the company rolled out SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) and EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) technologies for BS-IV compliant engines. Pisharody said the selection of emission control technologies across the CV range was comprehensive, covering aspects such as performance, reliability, affordability, environmental sustainability and future readiness.

Tata's share in the medium and heavy CV market came down to 49.2 per cent in FY17, from 52 per cent the previous year. In light CVs, it marginally declined to 38 per cent. Pisharody said the company's share was intact till October 2016 but saw an impact from November, after demonetisation. "Markets in the north and west are more cash-driven and these are large markets for us. We were impacted."

He added that when demand recovered from January, the company followed a balanced approach, since a conversion to BS-IV was pending. "We did not build a large stock with dealers. In March, the last month of FY17, our wholesale (shipment) to dealers was 36,000 units but the retail from dealers was about 50,000 units," he said.