As the disruption due to coronavirus throws the auto industry out of gear, automakers have made a representation to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to postpone the mandatory implementation of some new technical standards for automobiles.
The industry has requested MoRTH to defer these changes slated for certain categories of automobiles, including two-wheelers, commercial vehicles and buses and passenger vehicles.
The apex body representing automakers in India, SIAM, has sought more time for implementing the set of regulations in the AIS-145 safety standards for automobiles due to be made compulsory in 2020, sources told CNBC-TV18.
Indian automakers have been upgrading safety features across all categories of vehicles in keeping with the Auto Industry Standards (AIS-145) in a staggered manner over the last couple of years now.
Upgrades such as the anti-lock braking system (ABS) in two-wheelers, and mandatory driver-side airbag and stringent crash-test requirements led to significant hikes in prices of vehicles last year. The BS-VI migration added costs of its own.
However, the submission from the auto industry this time is to seek more time before the new mandatory fitments can be built into vehicles, tested and validated.
Industry sources told CNBC-TV18 that the auto sector anticipates it will take at least three months before production can achieve a meaningful scale. Add to that, more time will be required to test these features, which will delay the process by a year.
The implication on costs due to these features will not be significant, but it will vary depending on model, the base price and the affordability of the vehicle segment.
While there are internal discussions taking place at the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways currently, there is no formal approval yet in terms of the extent of SIAM's suggestions being accepted by the government. The industry is awaiting a decision which is likely to emerge in the days to come.