Let alone a discount, they might not even get the model, variant or colour of choice in BS-IV-compliant vehicles.
Passenger vehicle (PV) buyers looking for hefty discounts till the last month or day before the new emission norms (BS-VI) take effect could be in for disappointment.
Let alone a discount, they might not even get the model, variant or colour of choice in BS-IV-compliant vehicles, said car dealers and automakers.
Though lower than last month, consumer offers on PVs continue in the current month.
However, depending on a particular model, fuel type and variant, the offers may not last beyond a month as stock levels at most dealerships have seen significant reduction after Diwali (October 27).
“A lot of models of various brands are already in short supply,” said Sanjay Thakker, chairman, Landmark Group.
“Those looking to buy BS-IV models shouldn’t wait.”
Landmark is a dealer for Mercedes, Honda Cars, Renault, Nissan, Chrysler, and Volkswagen.
This is a stark departure from the previous years of emission norm change.
Manufacturers usually pull out all stops to woo buyers till the last day ahead of the changeover, to make the most of the rush to beat the price hike.
This time, however, the cut-off date for production and registration of all vehicles following older norms (BS-IV) is the same - March 31, 2020. Therefore, automakers have to ensure not only winding up production of older emission technology models by that date but also that there are no unregistered models across their channel.
“It’s a critical situation. One has to be precise in forecasting - meet the demand as well as not have inventory,” said Vikas Jain, national sales head, Hyundai Motor India.
So, carmakers are in an overdrive to liquidate stock by that date, so that they do not have to resort to a fire sale in the last month.
Take Volkswagen (VW) India for instance, which plans to stop diesel cars from new fiscal.
It launched a new scheme this month - “diesel cars at the price of petrol cars” - to push the slow-moving diesel variants out of its showrooms.
A Mumbai-based dealer said the scheme has helped sell most of the VW diesel cars.
“Those waiting for better offers might be in for a ride shock,” he said.
A company spokesperson on plans to phase out diesel cars said, “Given changing demand, the company will continue to explore all possible engine and fuel options in line with BS-VI requirements.”
With the slowdown in the economy and possible disruption because of change in emission norms, others are also not leaving anything to chance.
“We are continuing the festive offers,” said Hyundai’s Jain, adding that some offers have been withdrawn since last month.
He also said: “The momentum we had in October continues even now,” he said, pointing out that only Neo and Elanta are BS-VI-compliant.
Other models will be upgraded by February-end.
For market leader Maruti Suzuki India, the situation is a little less challenging.
It took a lead in transitioning to BS-VI and has sold more than 300,000 models compliant with the new emission norms since April.
“We have seen lot of traction for BS-VI cars,” said Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing, Maruti.
Offers on BS-IV cars are still on, though it is lower than last month. Depending on where you are buying the car and the model, the discount you will get now is about Rs 4,000-5,000 lower, said Srivastava.
Renault also plans to phase out its BS-IV diesel models by April 2020.
There has been a marginal spike in demand for these cars.
Venkatram Mamillapalle, managing director, Renault India, said customers should buy these models now as they are going out of stock faster than anticipated.
Nissan Motor India managing director Rakesh Srivastava said attractive offers on its models had helped spike sales.
Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters