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Brace for higher car budgets

The implementation of a new set of vehicular emission norms from April 1 is set to increase the cost of ownership of a car in the country significantly. Automobile companies, which have already re-scheduled their production to meet the norms, will increase prices by 1-1.5 per cent for petrol and 3-3.5 per cent for diesel vehicles, reports HT Correspondent.

autos Updated: Mar 26, 2010 21:14 IST
HT Correspondent

The implementation of a new set of vehicular emission norms from April 1 is set to increase the cost of ownership of a car in the country significantly.

Automobile companies, which have already re-scheduled their production to meet the norms, will increase prices by 1-1.5 per cent for petrol and 3-3.5 per cent for diesel vehicles. Further, cost of fuel where oil marketing companies are investing heavily for upgradation, is also likely to go up by around 50 paise per litre for both petrol and diesel.

“We are ready for the new emission norms and have made the necessary modification on the existing engines,” said Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director, marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd.

“The upgraded vehicles will be available in the thirteen cities by April 1. There will be a revision in the price to the tune of 1 per cent for petrol vehicles and 3 per cent for diesel vehicles.”

Initially, Bharat Stage (BS) III emission norms in the rest of the country were expected to be implemented on April 1 itself but following the inability of state-owned oil companies such as Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd to supply Euro III compliant fuel across the country, the deadline is likely to be extended till October.

The automobile industry however, is neither happy nor prepared to defer its plans.

“It is too late in the day to defer our plans as we work on a pre-determined schedule. We are already geared up to supply Euro III compliant vehicles to all parts of the country barring the thirteen big cities and even if the government defers the implementation tomorrow, we will not be able to adjust,” Singh added.

Sub-standard quality of fuel, especially diesel, have in the past led to major problems for car owners in rural areas and a similar situation may arise in the

ensuing months. If a BS III-compliant diesel vehicle is run on BS II fuel for a prolonged period, it may lead to the catalytic converter in the car getting clogged, thereby resulting in reduced performance of the vehicle and possible damage to the engine.

“The road map for implementation of the emission norms were drawn up way back in 2003 and there is no excuse for oil companies to say now that they are not prepared,” said a senior official at the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). “Had the automobile industry been at fault we would have been taken to task on any delay.”

To the average consumer, the change holds no benefit other than the promise of a cleaner and greener tomorrow. Every subsequent tightening of norms results in vehiclular pollution to go down by roughly 50 per cent. Critics however, point that with a growth rate second only to China in the world, the domestic automobile industry is churning way too many cars every year for the norms to have any impact.

“What is required is stringent emission norms that are uniform across the country alongwith efforts to reduce dependence on the use of personal vehicles,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, associate director, CSE. “Having Euro III norms across the country except the thirteen cities means that we are implementing norms that are ten years behind Europe. Investment in age old technologies is not the need of the hour and the automobile industry alongwith oil companies need to work together to tackle the problem.”