New Delhi: In a fire sale like no other, as much as 90% of the over 650,000 Bharat Stage-III compliant two-wheelers have been sold in a mere 36 hours after India’s apex court ruled that auto makers cannot sell such vehicles after 1 April.
“I believe 90% of BS-III stock has been sold,” said Nikunj Sanghi, a dealer for Hero MotoCorp Ltd and also a past president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations.
“Our shops are closed. In Jaipur, we had to ask for police protection,” he added.
Indian automobile makers have been in a race against time to clear inventory. That’s because the Supreme Court on Wednesday banned the sale and registration of vehicles not compliant with BS-IV emission standards from 1 April, leaving them with just two days in which to dispose of hundreds of thousands of BS-III vehicles.
Two-wheeler market leader Hero MotoCorp offered benefits up to Rs12,500, including free insurance and cash discounts, on its range of scooters and motorcycles, as per the advertisements and a circular issued to dealers.
Discounts at Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Ltd (HMSI), the country’s second largest two-wheeler seller, were even steeper. The local arm of the Japanese two-wheeler maker offered a cash discount of up to Rs22,000 on its BS-III scooters and motorcycles.
Pune-based Bajaj Auto Ltd also offered discounts up to Rs13,000 on bikes such as Pulsar, Avenger, Discover, Platina, and CT 100.
According to a submission made by lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) in the Supreme Court on 20 January, the industry had around 820,000 units of two-wheelers, commercial vehicles, both small and large, passenger vehicles and three-wheelers, in various stages of inventory clearance.
Of these, the inventory of two-wheelers was estimated at more than 670,000 units and those of commercial vehicles at around 100,000. In the inventory were around 40,000 three-wheelers; the rest were passenger vehicles.
Hero MotoCorp alone had an inventory of more than 300,000 vehicles compliant with BS-III emission norms.