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Mar 16, 2017 11:22 AM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Daimler India MD: Nobody should have liberty to sell BS-III vehicles after April 1

I don’t understand why anyone should have the liberty to sell BS-III trucks after April 1. If the government has a serious intention of reducing pollution then it should force all companies to meet the set BS-IV deadline on sales and registration.

Swaraj Baggonkar @@swarajsb

The fate of the old and polluting Bharat Stage III (BS-III) vehicles that number more than half a million will be decided within this fortnight even as cries for suspending their registration after the cut-off date of March 30 hit a new high.

While almost every two-wheeler manufacturer and several car makers have moved to BS-IV, commercial vehicle makers are accused of dragging their feet on the matter. A section of such manufacturers want sales of BS-III vehicles to be allowed even after April 1.

In an interview with Moneycontrol's Swaraj Baggonkar, Eric Nesselhauf, Managing Director and CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles shared his views about why an extension to the emission deadline is unfair to his company and also about new products and profitability.

Is it fair to manufacturers who have upgraded to BS-IV that others be allowed to sell BS-III?

It is unfair to the environment and to the people. Pollution is going from bad to worse. Every year, lakhs of people die due to pollution in India. We need to accelerate the roll-out of BS-IV. Everybody had enough time to make the transition to BS-IV as the announcement was made well in advance. Everybody knew what the deadline was. If we can do it everybody can do it too.

Erich Nesselhauf- MDCEO- DICV-min    Eric Nesselhauf- MD & CEO- DICV

Why is the industry dragging its feet on this?

I cannot judge what position other OEMs are in. However, I don’t understand why anyone should have the liberty to sell BS-III trucks after April 1. If the government has a serious intention of reducing pollution then it should force all companies to meet the set BS-IV deadline on sales and registration. BS-IV is much more fuel-efficient and cleaner in emissions.

DICV volumes last year were flat. How do you see demand panning out this year?

It is not easy to answer that question. The key to our operations in the domestic market is the implementation of GST. It is even more important to know what the GST rates are. Depending on this, GST can create a huge impact on volumes. We also see a huge growth in exports from here. So, overall we expect to lift our volumes significantly.

Are we going to see any further investments by DICV?

Last year we invested Rs 500 crore taking our total investment in India to more than Rs 5,000 crore. We will speak about new investments at the right time. Besides that, each of our upcoming product launches represents an investment.

On the product front what can we expect from DICV?

Beginning April we will have a completely new range of heavy-duty trucks for the Indian market. We will also introduce a 16-tonne bus as well as a sub-9-tonne truck for export markets.

You closed last year with 13,000 units. Where will the numbers settle by close of this decade?

We sold 13,081 units last year and we achieved that despite the challenging economic conditions though the numbers were still lower than the previous year. Our aim will be to generate fresh momentum this year with new launches. We do not give guidance on sales.

When speaking to your rivals they say that discounts are still very high. Do you think the situation will remain like this?

Discounts on BS-III stock can be expected to sky-rocket. That’s also why we decided to not build up unnecessary BS-III stock but rely on new, more competitive BS-IV products with better performance. I don’t want to be under this price pressure.

When do we see DICV getting profitable?

The target is to be profitable next year.
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