Mercedes Benz could bring BS VI emission compliant models as early as next year to India, this would also leave the door open to forge partnerships with oil firms to supply the higher grade of fuel. The German Luxury marquee has already approached several ministries in order to garner support for their plans. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has put them in touch with gas and oil firms in the country. "We would be ready as early as 2018. We could bring the first set of vehicles in 2018 into the country," Mercedes-Benz India Managing Director and CEO Roland Folger told PTI when asked about the company's plans regarding the launch of vehicles compliant with Bharat Stage (BS) VI emission norms. The move would, however, depend on issues like availability of BS VI grade fuel by 2018, he added. "We are already talking to some of the oil and gas companies or it is going to be something which nobody expects us to do," Folger said. When asked if the company would work with some of the oil and gas companies to source BSVI grade fuel, Folger said: "Of course, we work with some of them."Citing the example of Reliance Industries, he added that the oil and gas major has been exporting BS VI oil for the last five years.
"They are exporting to Europe, US. They actually produce more BS VI grade fuel for export markets than they do normal fuels for India," Folger said. He added that the major challenge in front of them is the availability of BS VI fuel across adequate fuel stations across the country. "If say 50 of our vehicles come into the marketplace how many fuel stations you expect to get BS VI fuel and how much time will it take to ramp it up. It is a hen and egg situation. We are waiting for all the fuel to be available and the fuel stations are waiting for all the vehicles to be there," Folger said. He added that it was important to start as early as possible with smaller volumes and then ramp it up accordingly.Elaborating further he said the company is in talks with various ministries regarding the issue. "We have already asked Ministry of Road Transport and Highways whether they would support us and they haven't said no. They have asked us to speak to oil and gas companies and that's what we are doing," Folger said. In a bid to curb vehicular pollution, the government has decided to implement stricter emission norms of BS VI from April 1, 2020, by skipping BS-V altogether. Oil marketing companies (OMCs) are incurring an expenditure of Rs 90,000 crore for phase-wise up-gradation of the fuel quality.