Mumbai: Monitoring pollutants emitted by your car in real time on its dashboard, as you are seated behind the wheel, will be possible in less than three years from now when Bharat Stage VI emission standards kick in from 1 April 2020. Among other things, the norms make on-board diagnostics (OBD) mandatory for all automobiles.
The OBD unit will be able to identify likely areas of malfunction by means of default codes stored on a computer, thus ensuring that the sophisticated emission control device which is fitted in a BS VI vehicle runs at optimum efficiency through the life of the vehicle.
To be sure, OBD is just one of the visible changes that will be effected when India’s automobile market leapfrogs to the strictest emission norms and comes on par with other advanced auto markets the world over. New vehicles will go through a slew of changes under the hood, in the cabin and other areas.
“Consumers will get internationally compatible models driven by regulations and not demand,” said Rashmi Urdhwareshe, director at Automotive Research Association of India in Pune, the automotive testing and research agency. But the clean technology will come at a price. Prices of models across segments will go up.
Though car segmentation will remain the same, there will be a disruption in the concept of small cars in terms of price and size, said executives at auto firms. Existing models will have to go through structural modifications on account of safety and emission regulations.
Changes to ensure vehicles meet new crash-test norms such as addition of airbags and anti-lock braking systems, and installation of diesel particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction technology to help diesel cars meet BS VI emission norms will add to the costs, making a cheap small car a thing of the past, they said.
While cost of all diesel vehicles will go up, small diesel cars will see a sharper increase in prices, said Rajan Wadhera, president (automotive sector) at Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M). An addition of Rs80,000 to a model that costs Rs6 lakh will pinch a lot more than addition of the same amount to a model that costs Rs10 lakh, he said. On an average, prices of small cars are expected to go up by Rs50,000 to Rs1 lakh, added Wadhera.
Automakers will not be able to simply pass on any increase in costs to buyers and will have to work on the price-to-value ratio—meaning, an average buyer should see enough value in the price increase, said Puneet Gupta, associate director at IHS Markit, a sales forecasting and market research firm.
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