It is a standard that could not have come at a more inopportune moment, especially for the big two of the Indian car industry, Maruti and Hyundai.
The Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) has notified a set of standards for a host of items including, galvanised steel sheets, that come into force from February next year. Failing to meet these standards could in effect, temporarily endanger the production of a host of cars including the newly-launched Maruti Suzuki A star alongwith all of Hyundai’s products from Santro to the yet to be launched i20.
Hyundai agreed that there could be a major impact. “There does not seem to be enough time to get this certification. We do use high tensile and galvanised steel across all our products that is not available here and it will get impacted,” said a Hyundai Motor India spokesperson.
“We will make a representation on this to the government through SIAM.”
Even with time at hand steel companies like Nippon and Posco may be reluctant to meet the specifications.
"There are no doubts about on quality with the companies who export steel to us, but the quantum of exports is so minimal compared to their global production that they may not be too keen in getting themselves certified through BIS," said I V Rao, managing executive officer (engineering), Maruti Suzuki India. "This type of steel is not manufactured here and if imports are not exempted then we will go for a toss."
All hopes now rest with negotiations with the government. "We will be speaking to the ministry of steel and BIS to get these categories out of the list. Without the exemptions there may not be subsequent quantity of steel available in the country in February," said Dilip Chenoy, Director General, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).