Bharat IV rolls out
Maruti 800,the small car that changed the way Indians drove and helped put the Indian automobile market into the global big league will stop rolling out of showrooms in major cities from today. It has been driven off the roads by stringent emission laws that the original people’s car is unable to comply with any more. Powered by a Suzuki collaboration and steered by Sanjay Gandhi’s political ambitions, the Maruti 800 rolled out onto Indian roads 27 years ago. The last of the 27 lakh units were driven out of showrooms in 13 cities on Wednesday, the company having decided that it was not worth pushing for a large investment to upgrade the engine to meet the stricter Bharat Stage IV norms that become mandatory from April 1. BSIV emission standards come into play in major cities, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, Surat and even Agra. The Ford Ikon (1.3 petrol), Fiat Palio, Skoda Fabia (1.2 petrol) and Octavia (1.9 TDI engine) and Chevrolet Tavera (2.5DI), too, will no longer be sold in the 13 cities, which collectively account for almost half the total car sales in India. In 1983, anyone with a little more than Rs 50,000 to spare – car loans were hard to come by then – drove into the fast lane on the Maruti 800, leaving behind other affluent and middle-class families which continued to bundle themselves into Fiats and Ambassadors.The government on Wednesday decided to defer the stricter Bharat Stage III (BSIII) emission norms by six months to October 1, apparently due to the inability of oil companies to provide compatible fuel across the country. While 13 of the top cities of the country switch over to BS4 norms from tomorrow, the rest of the country was to move over to BS3 norms from the existing BS2. However, with the oil companies expressing doubts over supplying BS3 fuel, the ministry of road transport and highways decided to defer their implementation.