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Thanks to meticulous planning and foresight, the transition from BS4 to BS6 has been smooth for most carmakers
The BS6 transition is a tough nut to crack for the Indian automotive industry. In 2016, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways announced the transition from BS4 to BS6, with March 31 being the deadline to sell BS4 cars (now granted a 10-day extension). Skipping BS5 was a clear hint towards an urgency in attaining cleaner emission targets amidst rising international pressure. 9 out of 10 most polluted cities in the world are in India and switching to cleaner cars is one of the many steps India needs to take urgently. The outcome is impressive though, with many carmakers exhausting their BS4 stocks and transitioning to BS6 well ahead of time.
Despite the slump in automobile sales and the challenging coronavirus pandemic, carmakers sold one million BS6 cars in India during FY 2019-20. According to a report by ET Auto, country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki leads the charge after having sold over 7.5 lakh BS6 cars in one year followed by 1.23 lakh units sold by Hyundai India. That said, new entrants like Kia Motors sold over 84,000 units while MG Motor India managed to sell 4,000 BS6 cars.
The Indian auto sector contributes 10 per cent to the overall GDP of the country and the transition demands meticulous product planning from carmakers to avoid financial and logistical losses. Maruti Suzuki rolled out BS6 cars from April 2019 itself while others heavily revamped their portfolios. For instance, Toyota stopped producing the Etios range and the Corolla Altis while Maruti Suzuki, Skoda and Volkswagen stopped selling diesel cars in India.
Although plenty of challenges are ahead of us. Vehicle sales are plummeting since the beginning of 2019 and adding insult to the injury is the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has forced carmakers to halt manufacturing. Companies with predominant diesel line-ups and smaller portfolios are likely to be impacted more than mass market brands like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Kia.