Should You Buy a BS-IV Compliant Car Now or Wait For a BS-VI One?

How will the introduction of BS-VI emission norms in India affect the sales of cars this year? We explain. 

Updated26 Feb 2019, 02:37 PM IST
Car and Bike
4 min read
Snapshot

From 1 April 2020, only cars that comply with Bharat Stage VI emissions norms can be sold in India. With a little over a year to go before that deadline automakers are scrambling to bring in new technologies to meet BS-VI emission norms. Right now, India’s emission norms are Bharat Stage IV (BS-IV), which is equivalent to Euro 4 emission norms.

Along with the emission norms change (skipping BS-V and going directly to BS-VI), India is also enacting new crash-test safety norms (BNCAP) in October 2019.

So that brings up the question: Should you be looking to buy a BS-IV compliant car right now, or wait a year and pick up one that meets BS-VI emission norms? Here is all you need to know about these emission norms.

Should You Buy a BS-IV Compliant Car Now or Wait For a BS-VI One?

  1. 1. What is Bharat Stage VI?

    India will soon be at a par with Europe when it comes to emissions standards, when it adopts Bharat Stage VI. The country is taking this step, skipping from BS-IV to BS-VI, because India is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, signed in October 2016.

    Under Bharat Stage VI, cars, especially diesel cars will have to undergo significant changes to the engine to conform to the norms. Delhi already has Bharat Stage VI fuel on sale, in which the sulphur content of diesel is less than 10 mg/Kg, compared to 50 mg/Kg under Bharat Stage IV norms.

    Reducing the sulphur content in fuel will directly reduce the particulate matter emissions (PM 10 and PM 2.5) of diesel vehicles. Sulphur is a by product of the fuel refining process.

    Should You Buy a BS-IV Compliant Car Now or Wait For a  BS-VI One?
    Photo: The Quint

    Under the Bharat Stage VI norms the emissions requirements for petrol and diesel cars are almost at par. Diesel vehicles emit far less carbon di-oxide and hydrocarbons than petrol, while petrol cars emit less nitrous oxides and next to negligible particulate matter.

    Should You Buy a BS-IV Compliant Car Now or Wait For a  BS-VI One?
    Photo: The Quint
    Expand
  2. 2. Impact of Bharat Stage VI on Price of Cars

    Prices of cars will go up. Period. Indian cars are going to be hit by the double whammy of more stringent crash test norms and Bharat Stage VI emissions norms.

    For instance, the price of diesel cars will go up significantly (by at least Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh) because of the addition of hardware such as a diesel particulate filter to reduce particulate matter and in bigger engines, a urea-based solution injection system (like AdBlue) that will break down nitrous oxides into harmless elements.

    This requirement will mean many carmakers have to redesign their cars engines and engine bays to fit in the additional equipment. This is especially true for diesel cars, while petrol cars require only minor tweaking to comply.

    This means that the cost of diesel cars will go up significantly. In the case of a hatchback like the Maruti Swift, there will be a difference of nearly Rs 2 lakh between a petrol model and equivalent diesel variant.

    Expand
  3. 3. What About Resale Value of BS-IV Cars?

    With the new emission norms kicking in, one question on consumers minds is what happens to the resale value of their existing cars? The Delhi-NCR region has already seen an adverse effect on diesel car resale value because of the ban on plying diesel vehicles older than 10 years and petrol cars older than 15 years in the area.

    Regional transport offices (RTOs) in Delhi are refusing to extend the registration of petrol cars over 15 years and diesel cars over 10 years. No objection certificates have to be obtained from the RTO before the car reaches 10 years of age for diesel cars or 15 years for petrol cars, and then they can be sold in only certain areas of the country where vehicular population is low.

    Elsewhere in the country, RTOs are continuing to extend the lifespan of vehicles based on their fitness, but this may soon change, falling in line with the rules that apply to the Delhi-NCR region.

    Expand
  4. 4. Should You Wait for Discounts on BS-IV Cars?

    If you are not considering keeping your car for a long period, you could wait and buy a BS-IV compliant car just before BS-VI norms kick in, as companies will be offering discounts on unsold stock. However, unlike earlier times, with a clear date from when new norms kick in, most companies are already adjusting production accordingly, so don’t expect too much.

    Some companies that will soon stop selling cars in India such as Fiat, are already offering hefty discounts. For instance, the Fiat Punto Abarth is being sold at a straight discount of Rs 2 lakh from the showroom. Cars that are likely to be discontinued this year will definitely ramp up the discounts soon.

    Expand
  5. 5. What Technical Differences Will BS-VI Vehicles Have?

    The introduction of BS-VI emissions norms and the new car safety requirements will increase prices of all vehicles. All BS-VI vehicles will have to have on-board diagnostic systems (OBD), which is already there in BS-IV vehicles, but with more monitoring features.

    Diesel vehicles will have diesel particulate filters and urea-injection systems fitted to them, which will require more maintenance and monitoring. All two-wheelers will have to shift to a fuel-injection system from carburettor systems. This will also increase the base cost of even commuter bikes.

    Besides with ABS & CBS for bikes, as well as airbags for cars becoming mandatory, the base costs of all vehicles will go up.

    Expand
  6. 6. How Much Longer Can You Drive Your Old Cars?

    In the Delhi-NCR region, diesel vehicles over 10 years of age and petrol vehicles over 15 years of age cannot be run. This rule will continue to apply once BS-VI vehicles come in, to all existing vehicles. Which means, if you buy a BS-IV petrol car just ahead of the 1 April 2020 deadline, you can legally run it until 2035, unless new norms come in.

    Chances are, in order to bring in BS-VI vehicles and phase out older cars, the government may not permit extending the registration of old vehicles, not just in the Delhi-NCR region, but across the country as well. That means, you can see your resale value drop considerably for older cars.

    We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

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    Expand

What is Bharat Stage VI?

India will soon be at a par with Europe when it comes to emissions standards, when it adopts Bharat Stage VI. The country is taking this step, skipping from BS-IV to BS-VI, because India is a signatory to the Paris Climate Agreement, signed in October 2016.

Under Bharat Stage VI, cars, especially diesel cars will have to undergo significant changes to the engine to conform to the norms. Delhi already has Bharat Stage VI fuel on sale, in which the sulphur content of diesel is less than 10 mg/Kg, compared to 50 mg/Kg under Bharat Stage IV norms.

Reducing the sulphur content in fuel will directly reduce the particulate matter emissions (PM 10 and PM 2.5) of diesel vehicles. Sulphur is a by product of the fuel refining process.

Should You Buy a BS-IV Compliant Car Now or Wait For a  BS-VI One?
Photo: The Quint

Under the Bharat Stage VI norms the emissions requirements for petrol and diesel cars are almost at par. Diesel vehicles emit far less carbon di-oxide and hydrocarbons than petrol, while petrol cars emit less nitrous oxides and next to negligible particulate matter.

Should You Buy a BS-IV Compliant Car Now or Wait For a  BS-VI One?
Photo: The Quint

Impact of Bharat Stage VI on Price of Cars

Prices of cars will go up. Period. Indian cars are going to be hit by the double whammy of more stringent crash test norms and Bharat Stage VI emissions norms.

For instance, the price of diesel cars will go up significantly (by at least Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh) because of the addition of hardware such as a diesel particulate filter to reduce particulate matter and in bigger engines, a urea-based solution injection system (like AdBlue) that will break down nitrous oxides into harmless elements.

This requirement will mean many carmakers have to redesign their cars engines and engine bays to fit in the additional equipment. This is especially true for diesel cars, while petrol cars require only minor tweaking to comply.

This means that the cost of diesel cars will go up significantly. In the case of a hatchback like the Maruti Swift, there will be a difference of nearly Rs 2 lakh between a petrol model and equivalent diesel variant.

What About Resale Value of BS-IV Cars?

With the new emission norms kicking in, one question on consumers minds is what happens to the resale value of their existing cars? The Delhi-NCR region has already seen an adverse effect on diesel car resale value because of the ban on plying diesel vehicles older than 10 years and petrol cars older than 15 years in the area.

Regional transport offices (RTOs) in Delhi are refusing to extend the registration of petrol cars over 15 years and diesel cars over 10 years. No objection certificates have to be obtained from the RTO before the car reaches 10 years of age for diesel cars or 15 years for petrol cars, and then they can be sold in only certain areas of the country where vehicular population is low.

Elsewhere in the country, RTOs are continuing to extend the lifespan of vehicles based on their fitness, but this may soon change, falling in line with the rules that apply to the Delhi-NCR region.

Should You Wait for Discounts on BS-IV Cars?

If you are not considering keeping your car for a long period, you could wait and buy a BS-IV compliant car just before BS-VI norms kick in, as companies will be offering discounts on unsold stock. However, unlike earlier times, with a clear date from when new norms kick in, most companies are already adjusting production accordingly, so don’t expect too much.

Some companies that will soon stop selling cars in India such as Fiat, are already offering hefty discounts. For instance, the Fiat Punto Abarth is being sold at a straight discount of Rs 2 lakh from the showroom. Cars that are likely to be discontinued this year will definitely ramp up the discounts soon.

What Technical Differences Will BS-VI Vehicles Have?

The introduction of BS-VI emissions norms and the new car safety requirements will increase prices of all vehicles. All BS-VI vehicles will have to have on-board diagnostic systems (OBD), which is already there in BS-IV vehicles, but with more monitoring features.

Diesel vehicles will have diesel particulate filters and urea-injection systems fitted to them, which will require more maintenance and monitoring. All two-wheelers will have to shift to a fuel-injection system from carburettor systems. This will also increase the base cost of even commuter bikes.

Besides with ABS & CBS for bikes, as well as airbags for cars becoming mandatory, the base costs of all vehicles will go up.

How Much Longer Can You Drive Your Old Cars?

In the Delhi-NCR region, diesel vehicles over 10 years of age and petrol vehicles over 15 years of age cannot be run. This rule will continue to apply once BS-VI vehicles come in, to all existing vehicles. Which means, if you buy a BS-IV petrol car just ahead of the 1 April 2020 deadline, you can legally run it until 2035, unless new norms come in.

Chances are, in order to bring in BS-VI vehicles and phase out older cars, the government may not permit extending the registration of old vehicles, not just in the Delhi-NCR region, but across the country as well. That means, you can see your resale value drop considerably for older cars.

We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated.

The Quint is now available on Telegram & WhatsApp too, Click here to join.

Published: 26 Feb 2019, 02:34 PM IST

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