Come April 1, some of the popular passenger vehicles to run on Indian roads will go missing as auto manufacturers are rationalizing the number of vehicles they produce given the high cost of transition to BS-VI variants.
Some of the models to go off the shelf include the Etios, Liva, Corolla Altis from Toyota, KUV100 diesel variant and Bolero Plus from Mahindra, Hexa, Safari Storme, Zest, Bolt, and all the older generation cars of Tata Motors, Maruti and Renault diesel cars. While Hyundai has transitioned most of its models to BS-VI, only the Xcent (prime) diesel, which catered to the fleet segment, will be discontinued. Instead, the Korean auto major has launched the Xcent CNG variant for the fleet segment.
Industry executives believe that OEMs would replace the vehicles with newer models and variants. With the clamor for gasoline engines growing, auto companies may look at such products in lieu of diesel-powered vehicles, say experts.
“At Mahindra, we are upgrading most of our current portfolio to BS-VI along with planned new product launches and a couple of limited volume variants that are getting discontinued on account of BS-VI will be replaced with some of our other existing products,” said Veejay Nakra, head of sales & marketing of Mahindra’s automotive division. The Bolero Plus 9 seater people mover and Plus Ambulance will be discontinued. The KUV100 diesel will be discontinued since the XUV300 is the flagship offering in the compact SUV segment. The KUV100 on gasoline and bi-fuel (gasoline-CNG) variants will continue, adds Nakra.
It is, however, no surprise that companies are using the BS-VI transition to quietly retire products that did not perform well in the market. Naveen Soni, Sr VP – sales & service of Toyota Kirloskar confirming the discontinuance of Liva and Etios, said “We always study and evaluate the market, continue to understand customer preferences and trends. This also applies to cases when we have to discontinue an existing model to vacate plant capacity for advanced and better technologies to come in. In order to service the needs of our customers, we are now offering Yaris and Glanza in BS-VI avatar against the discontinued Liva and Etios respectively. Apart from the Etios series, we will also be discontinuing the Corolla Altis, having seen a conscious shift in customer preferences from the C sedan segment to the C MPV segment.”
Automobile companies need to see through a prism of commercial viability and the future of the product. Decisions are taken product-wise and the costs involved upgrading the product, said Arun Kumar, ex Nissan India head & auto consultant.
The country’s largest vehicle manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, however, seems to be unfazed. Shashank Srivastava, ED, (marketing and sales), said “Maruti is manufacturing BS6 vehicles from end January 2020 and this transition from BS-IV to BS-VI was planned a year in advance. Best-selling mass models such as Alto and Baleno were upgraded with BS-VI petrol engines in April 2019. This was closely followed by WagonR, Swift and Dzire in June 2019 and Ertiga in July 2019, XL6 in August 2019, S-PRESSO in September 2019; Eeco, Celerio, Super Carry, Ciaz in January 2020 and Vitara Brezza, IGNIS in February 2020. We had also announced the end of BS-IV diesel vehicles nearly a year in advance so that our customers have an informed choice on fuel type.”
Tata Motors declined to comment. Sources in the know said while Tata Motors will do away with older generation cars, and the focus will be on Nexon, Altroz, Tiago, Tigor, Harrier and the EV segment.
Vendors have also been helping and working towards upgrading variants of petrol, CNG, manual/automatic transmission or AMT to BS-VI. But it has not been an easy journey for suppliers with the challenge of supply parts especially given difficult external conditions.
News Source: Economic Times, Url: https://bit.ly/39ZNUj3