Automotive industry bodies such as Society of Indian Automobile Manufactuers (SIAM), Indian Foundation of Transport Research And Training (IFTRT) have expressed concerns over the union ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) decision to make it mandatory airconditioning (AC) system on trucks effective April 1, 2017.
The bodies not only see that the time limit given is highly impossible to meet with but also expressed the cost involved in recalibrating all the trucks to suit such AC fittings.
SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur said, “We appreciate MoRTH’s concern for comfort of truck drivers, however, SIAM is of the view that AC being a comfort related subject and not a safety subject and it should not be regulated or mandated.
All comfort related features in vehicles should be driven by the market and the customer and not by regulation. “Furthermore, almost more than 90% of truck cabins are built by independent unorganised body-builders on plain chassis supplied by the OEMs . The OEMs do not have any control on these local body builders for fitment of AC systems. Any wrong fitment can, therefore, not only lead to many warranty conflicts with customers, but also impact the performance of the vehicle,” he said.
“Truck Code has already taken adequate care for the comfort of driver/co-driver by incorporating mandatory provision of blowers/ventilators or other suitable devices to ensure proper climate control in driver’s work area,” he added.
The industry has already committed the necessary resources and put in place the supply chain/orders for manufacturing Bharat Stage IV emission norms complaint trucks from April 2017 i.e. 4 months from now and cabins on all trucks would seriously impact preparedness of the industry in meeting BS IV norms across the country as vehicles would need to be redesigned/redeveloped and sent for fresh homologation for which the lead time is just not enough, Mathur pointed out.
Speaking to the FE, SP Singh, convenor, IFTRT, said, “The move is arbitrary and uncalled for at a time when the OEMs are involved in investing to meet Euro IV norms, which will come into force in the next few months. The ministry’s move is more of a comfort aspect than a necessary one. The ministry should not go ahead with this proposal now.”
However, in a statement here, Erich Nesselhauf, managing director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), said: “We welcome the government’s push for mandatory AC on trucks. With BharatBenz, we have been selling AC throughout our 9-49 tonne range from day one onwards, so we are fully ready. Mandatory AC will deliver a significant boost to safer trucking and road safety.