Almost all vehicle manufacturers worked in conjunction with their component suppliers from India and overseas to achieve BS6 compliance, ahead of the April 1 deadline. While a few rolled out BS6-compliant products last year itself, the pace of greener products being launched picked up from January 2020. Oil marketing companies also confirmed their readiness to supply BS6 fuel across the country. However, India's apex dealer body, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), is looking for an extension of the March 31 sales deadline.
FADA president Ashish Harsharaj Kale said, “Post our initial application, necessitated due to huge unsold BS4 inventory and slowing sales, getting rejected by the apex court on February 14, 2020, there has been a drastic change in circumstances in conducting business as usual.”
However, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director of Bajaj Auto, has come out strongly against any extension of the date for sale of BS4 vehicle inventory. Speaking to Hindu Business Line, he said that Bajaj Auto will continue to object to any such extension because this "unjustly penalises those of us" who have complied with the law in "letter and spirit". He added that defaulting companies must reimburse their dealers for "redundant BS4 stocks, if any, on April 1."
Rajiv Bajaj has also been quoted saying, "It is the job of management to anticipate and plan for a contingency. If the deadline is April 1, you must plan in advance”. An extension to BS4 vehicle sales would also be blatantly unfair to those manufacturers, across segments, who have arduously and aggressively worked over the past three years to meet the April 1 deadline.
Tomorrow, on March 27, the apex court will look into the appeal for the extension of BS4 vehicle sales. At this stage, the likelihood of that happening seems rather unlikely despite the onset of coronavirus, which is clearly centre-stage news and the country's all-out point of focus right now.