As sales of vehicles dropped significantly in the last one week after the spread of Covid-19, automobile dealers, through its lobby group Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, on Tuesday, approached the Supreme Court of India to extend the deadline for sales of Bharat Stage-4 emission norms complaint vehicles till May 31, 2020. The apex court, in 2018, ordered vehicle manufacturers to manufacture and sell only Bharat Stage-6 norms compliant vehicles from April 1, 2020.
In the last one week, ever since the union and state governments have started asking people to ensure social distancing to control the increase in number of infected, footfalls at automobile dealerships have halved and has led to significant decrease retail sales.
This has also impacted the sales of BS-4 vehicles especially two-wheelers, as dealers needed to liquidate the stocks by March 31 due to the transition to BS-6 norms from April.
“Owning to situations which are beyond our control and the fact that many of our members may face dealership closures if left with unsold BS-IV stocks, FADA has once again approached the apex body with a request for permission of sale and registration of BS-IV vehicles till 31st May’20 and hopes to get an urgent hearing in the Hon’ble Supreme Court due to the criticality of the issue and the deadline of 31st March approaching fast," said Ashish Harsharaj Kale, president, F ADA.
In the past week there has been drastic drop in sales and customer walk-ins have reduced to a trickle as caution sets in due to fear of spreading of the Coronavirus. Counter sales has fallen by 60-70% across auto dealerships in these past few days. The situation has worsened in the past 3-4 days with partial lockdown situation in many towns and cities and few district magistrates have started issuing notices of closure of shops and establishments, including auto dealerships, to stop the spread of virus, the lobby group said in a press release.
The apex count in February 2020, had rejected an appeal by Fada for an extension of the deadline for selling BS-4 vehicles in the domestic market.
On Monday, the representative group of automobile manufacturers, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court to direct state governments to allow registration of BS-4 norms compliant vehicles till March 31.
Some state governments have recently issued circulars, directing dealers that no applications for registration of BS-IV vehicles would be accepted on or after a certain date, which are much ahead of 31st March 2020.
“The cut-off dates ranges from February 29, 2020 to March 25, 2020 across states, though BS-VI emission compliance is mandated from April 1, 2020," said the lobby group in a statement on Monday.