Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava has requested that the emission norms, which were set to take effect in April 2022, be postponed, citing low car affordability and industry growth as reasons.

The introduction of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency) emission II norms in India from April 2022 is facing mounting opposition. The most recent salvo came from RC Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s market leader in passenger vehicles.

“I don’t think it is the right time (to implement) the new stage of CAFE norms,” R C Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki, told PTI. The cost of automobiles has risen steadily over time. People can no longer afford cars because the price has risen so much, and the industry’s growth has slowed to a halt. The industry will continue to decline if the cost is increased further, especially when people’s income has not increased during the Covid period.” The sales of two wheels are growing because only two wheels can be afforded, Bhargava added. 

Even before the pandemic, the domestic auto industry was experiencing a slowdown, according to Maruti Suzuki’s chairman.

“According to a study conducted by SIAM, the Indian automobile industry grew at a rate of 12.9 percent per year from 2000 to 2010. From 2010 to 2015, it fell to 5.7 percent, and from 2015 to 2016, before Covid, it fell to 1.3 percent. It has turned negative during the Covid period, “Bhargava explained.

Overview

In March 2021, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari met with a SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) delegation to discuss postponing CAFE Phase II regulations until April 1, 2024. The domestic automotive industry, according to SIAM, is still recovering from the effects of COVID-19 and low consumer demand. The government has yet to respond to the apex industry body’s request for information on whether the CAFE Phase II April 2022 plan will be postponed.

The term “Corporate Average” in CAFE refers to the weighted average of vehicle manufacturer sales volumes. CAFE standards apply to vehicles that run on gasoline, diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), or compressed propane gas (LPG).

The CAFE standards were implemented in India on April 1, 2017. CAFE standards in Phase 1 (2017-2022) require average corporate CO2 emissions to be less than 130 gm/km by 2022. Manufacturers must find efficient and clean powertrain options in tandem with BS6 in order to meet the CAFE targets. This will be reduced to less than 113 gm/km in Phase II (2022 onwards) and could be further tightened to 108 or 104 gm/km.