Car maufacturers Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), Mercedes-Benz India and Toyota came together on Monday asking the Supreme Court to recall a part of the December 16 order that banned registration of diesel vehicles with engine capacities over 2000cc in the national capital.
They mentioned their impleadement applications before a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, which agreed to hear their plea on Tuesday. Auto industry body Siam and Tata Motors are likely to join the fray.
Stating that they are adversely affected by the December 16 order, M&M through senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi argued that when the pollution levels in Delhi had earlier risen to alarming levels, the court had instead of banning the registration of diesel vehicles considered it more appropriate to direct strict compliance with the applicable emission norms. Senior counsel Kapil Sibal and Gopal Subramanium represented Toyota and Mercedes, respectively.
“The applicant has continually served the nation through its low cost and high efficiency vehicular products available to the common man. Therefore, insofar as the applicant's manufactured vehicles are concerned, most of them do not cater to the affluent class, but are the preferred mode of transport of the common man and this is primarily due to the low cost and high efficiency offered by these vehicles,” M&M said in its application, adding that its vehicles are used for intra city and inter city travel by the common man.
Seeking permission from the apex court to allow them to sell their diesel passenger vehicles of engine capacity of 2000cc and above, the company further said that though its majority of the passenger vehicles it manufactures have a capacity of 2000 cc and above, yet its vehicles are purchased by the common man. Toyota's bestselling Fortuner and Innova account for big sales in Delhi, Mahindra vehicles such as Scorpio, Xylo, XUV 500 and Bolero run on engines with 2000cc or above.
Delhi accounts for 7% of about 2.6 million passenger vehicles sold in the country every year. It has 8.5 million registered vehicles—up 97% from 2000—and adds 1,400 new cars to its streets every day.
According to manufacturers, all their vehicles sold in Delhi and NCR comply with BS IV emission norms. The micro-hybrid technology or 'stop-start' feature has ordinarily been available only in high-end luxurious vehicles that are manufactured by foreign companies. However, M&M since 2008 had been providing such lower emission solution as an option in the Scorpio and mass market vehicles like Bolero and its commercial pick-ups as well. It believes that these are the cheapest micro-hybrid models made availabe globally, thus M&M's commitment to safeguarding the evvironment is evident from its actions.
According to manufacturers, four-wheeler diesel passenger vehicles of BS IV emission standard contribute only 0.4% to PM2.5 emission in Delhi, a figure significantly lower than two-wheelers (6.6%) and trucks (9%). Out of this, the emission from 2000 cc vehicles will be a fraction of this 0.2%-0.4% of PM emissions, they added.