Suzuki Motorcycle India has joined the growing list of two-wheeler manufacturers converting their entire fleets to BS-IV. Bajaj Auto was the first to manufacture only BS IV-compliant vehicles from as early as January 2017, followed by TVS, Hero and Honda in March. The deadline to convert all vehicles to BS-IV is April 1, 2017, as set by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Some manufacturers have requested extensions of the deadline, which have been called “illogical” by Bajaj because this will give BS-III vehicles an unfair price advantage. According to Rajiv Bajaj, MD, Bajaj Auto, “Bajaj Auto as a responsible corporate has complied with this directive and already commenced manufacturing of BS IV-compliant vehicles from October 2016. Moreover, with effect from January 2017, all products from all our three plants are BS-IV compliant. We have thus ensured that all vehicles presented for registration April 1 onwards will be BS-IV compliant. This has been possible because of meticulous planning for dealer stocks and switching to production of BS IV-compliant vehicles well in advance.”
BS-IV compliance has added to the cost of vehicles, which will inevitably be passed on to customers. Most vehicles from Suzuki, TVS, Bajaj, Yamaha, Hero and Honda have already witnessed small price hikes, and market analysts have even pointed at a potential spike in sales of BS III-compliant models as the deadline approaches.
Manufacturers have been rolling out particular models that meet these norms over the last few months, taking the opportunity to launch BS IV-compliant vehicles to introduce new features (such as charging sockets in the Honda Activa 4G and the TVS Wego) and new colour options, possibly to offset the effect of the rise in prices.
Royal Enfield still hasn’t joined this club, but has confirmed that its entire range will be BS IV-compliant by April 1.
Scooter sales for February 2017 have witnessed a 3.7 percent year-on-year growth, partly attributed to the rush to buy BS-III vehicles before the costs go up. Motorcycle sales are still recovering from the impact of demonetisation; year-on-year sales for February 2017 were down 3.13 percent.