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Ban on diesel SUVs inappropriate: Car dealers

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New Delhi: Car dealers in the national capital on Wednesday dubbed as “inappropriate” the Supreme Court ban on registration of diesel vehicles of engine capacity of 2,000 cc and more in the NCR.

They said the decision will lead to huge job cuts as automobile companies like Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra have most cars of 2,000 cc capacity and above and employ a huge manpower.

Banning the registration of diesel-run Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and private cars of 2,000 CC and above till March 31 in the National Capital Region (NCR), the apex court noted that such vehicles were prone to causing higher pollution and were used by the more affluent.

“What type of decision is this? Why ban SUVs of 2,000 cc and above and not all SUVs if pollution is really an issue. We will have to cancel all our advance bookings for the bulky SUVs. As per the Supreme Court decision, only two of our SUVs – Quanto and TUV 300 – can be sold. We are going to face huge job cuts this way,” Sachin Chaudhary, branch manager at Delhi-based Koncept Mahindra, told IANS.

He said the only option left for the automobile manufacturers was to wait for SC to lift the ban.

Automobile experts say top selling SUVs like Mahindra Bolero, a rage among the country’s rural population, would be the worst affected as it has a 2,523 cc engine. The SUV’s monthly sales figure stands around 6,000.

Anand Mahindra, chairman and managing director of Mahindra and Mahindara Group said: “So even if we believe the decision on diesel vehicles isn’t optimal, we’ll honour it and develop vehicles that comply with their stipulations.”

In fact, M&M, the country’s third largest automaker with a market share of 7.86 percent, will be the worst hit by the judgment as it has a massive lineup of diesel SUVs and utility vehicles. Its best selling vehicles – Scorpio and XUV 500 – too have a 2179 cc engine.

A leading Tata Motors dealer, having showrooms in bordering areas of Delhi, said most demand for diesel SUVs was in Delhi’s neighbouring states and not in the national capital.

“There was a need for the decision-makers to analyse where the ban was exactly required to be imposed. Of course, all Tata showrooms in Delhi will bear the brunt, but the states where there is almost 20 times more sales of diesel SUVs are not going to get affected,” said Inderjeet, branch manager at Raghuvanshi Motors, dealing in Tata cars.

According to Inderjeet, sales of Tata Safari, Sumo Gold, Safari Dicor and Aria would be affected due to SC order.

He told IANS: “We have over 200 bookings of Tata Safari and Aria for the ongoing marriage season, but after the SC decision all bookings will have to be cancelled. The decision is affecting our customers.”

Auto experts said a trend of companct SUVs like Ford Ecosport, Mahindra TUV 300 and Hyundai Creta, among others, had caught up with the people and will remain unaffected due to smaller engine displacement.

A senior official of Koncept Hyundai in Delhi said: “This (decision) is not going to affect our customers much. Only the sale of one SUV – Santa Fe – will be affected. We do not have much sale of Santa Fe.”

“The government needs to understand it’s not just about SUVs. Even the sale of sedans and hatchbacks in diesel versions are much higher than diesel SUVs,” he added.

According to reports, SUV sales of above 2000 cc and other in November was around 20,000 units while Maruti’s Swift Dzire’s diesel version alone sold over 21,000.