There has been a sudden rise in buyers at automobile showrooms after the Supreme Court banned the sale of BS-III vehicles from April 1 in an attempt to reduce vehicular emissions. While the automobile industry cried foul on the sudden ban as there is 8.25 lakh of unsold inventory with automobile makers and dealers, dealerships have tried to push out the inventory at heavy discounts.
As per the ruling, even though no BS-III vehicles can be bought after March 31, all vehicles bought until then will be registered even in April.
In Rajasthan, there are about 350 dealers who are not panicked by the order. “The companies are offering heavy discounts on two-wheelers and four wheelers, which is from Rs 15,000- Rs 20,000 on two-wheelers and Rs 50,000 to a lakh on four-wheelers,” said Sai Girdhar, secretary, Rajasthan Authorised Motor Vehicle Dealers Association.
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The discounts and footfalls are skewed towards two-wheelers’ dealers, where the country-wide inventory is the highest at 7.5 lakh vehicles.
In Guwahati, Assam, DR Brijmohan, Hero Motorcorp’s largest dealer, dropped prices on all BS III models by Rs 7,000 to Rs 15,000. “Sales increased significantly, especially for scooters. We have run out of stock and many customers had to return empty-handed,” said a DR Brijmohan sales executive.
The dealers said that most of the discounts are absorbed by the respective companies. The automakers, however, refrained from commenting on the matter. But, on Wednesday, Pawan Munjal, chairman, MD and CEO of Hero MotoCorp, said, “We have reduced our inventory significantly in the past few months with the aim to minimise our stakeholder losses.”
In Madhya Pradesh, people thronged the dealerships. Two-wheeler dealer Surjeet Bajaj offered a concession of Rs 5,000. Other dealerships offered Rs 15,000 in discounts. Some dealerships put up a “booked” signboard outside. Vishal Jauhari, vice-president of MP Automobile Association, said the offer of concession was mainly on two-wheelers.
In Ranchi, the owner of one of the largest two-wheeler showrooms said most of them had opened discounts as it was driving in footfalls. “Once the customers come to the showrooms, it helps us sell the new products as well…BS-III has become a marketing tool,” the owner said.