Following Bajaj Auto, Honda will commence production of the new vehicles a month before the government’s deadline.

Adhering to the April 1, 2017 deadline set by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) will become the second two-wheeler manufacturer in India to manufacture only BS IV-compliant scooters and motorcycles. This move will significantly impact the two-wheeler industry in India.

With manufacturing units set up all over the country - Manesar, Haryana, Tapukara, Rajasthan, Kolar and Vithalapur - HMSI has a production capacity of 5.8 million units. Bajaj Auto started manufacturing BS IV-only models nearly two months before the notified date and Honda is set to start production a month earlier. At a press conference in Mumbai on February 15, Rajiv Bajaj, managing director, Bajaj Auto, had revealed that his company had started converting the existing BS III-compliant models to BS-IV standards in September 2016, and had finished doing so by end-January 2017.

The Bharat Stage standards have been set to ensure that vehicles on the road do not cause excessive emissions. Many industry insiders have expressed concerns about how these new standards may lead to price hikes. Rajiv Bajaj also appealed against the unfair price advantage that other OEMs may have while selling BS III-compliant vehicles in the market beyond April 1, in the form of disposing their accumulated inventory.

Yadvinder Singh Guleria, senior vice-president (Sales & Marketing), HMSI, said that his company is prepared to meet the deadline and is also well placed to sell off the BS III-compliant inventory on time. “We are prepared for the incoming deadline. For Honda, our market strategy is well placed for existing BS III stock and from March 1, 2017, we will be producing only BS-IV models.” He said, “Our first BS-IV model, the CB Hornet 160R was launched in 2015 and currently, more than 85 percent of our models are BS IV-compliant.”

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