With Budget 2019 stuck clearly in the rear-view, and no immediate certainty of when one can expect the FAME 2 scheme automakers around the country have turned their focus on the next big paradigm shift in the automotive manufacturing industry, the switch to the BS6 compliant fuel. This will be one of the first transitions in emissions compliance to skip a stage entirely (Bharat Stage 5) in order to meet global emissions compliance standards. The idea is to hasten the process and extrapolate Indian metropolitans battle with air quality, and in turn, slow down India’s exponentially increasing carbon footprint. Although, while for Government it is just policy, for Automakers it is a titanic shift of paradigm. That must be well coordinated with the petroleum industry so as to ensure a smooth shift that involves hundreds of crores and millions of jobs.
Mahindra’s Managing Director, Dr Pawan Goenka calls the nationwide shift to BS6 a Y2K moment for the Auto Industry. Comparing the transition, to the Y2K virus, that was expected to spark global shutdown of computers in 2000 and left an anxious air in the, then, nascent IT industry. On the sidelines of a post-budget media roundtable, Goenka listed his expectation from the transition, that he believes is shared by his colleagues and contemporaries across the industry. Last standing government orders say that BS4 compliant vehicles must all be sold out by March 31, 2020. Issuing a ban on sales there forth. What this means for manufacturers’ is that they must start manufacturing and roll out BS6 vehicle by January 2020. So as to ensure a stock purge in the remaining time. However, as Dr Goenka pointed out, to do this, all manufacturers will need to see nation-wide availability of BS6 fuel by January 2020.
For the consumers, what it means is that 2019 is going to be comparatively quiet with less new vehicle launches than the smorgasbord of new vehicles that we saw last year. There will be a few Electric Vehicles, some early launch BS6 Vehicles towards the end of the year, but Auto Expo 2020 is where we can really expect a whirlwind of new vehicles, engines and platforms!