Nano buyers may have to pay more for BSIV version

Tata Motors may seek extra money from the short-listed 100,000 (US$ 2,000) Nano customers, whose delivery will be pending till April 2010. This is because the company will be forced to upgrade the car’s pollution parameters, and implement BS-lV emission norms after April 2010.

Auto industry experts say that these customers will have to shell out an additional Rs. 6,000-Rs. 10,000 (US$ 120-200) if they get the delivery of Nano after March 31, 2010, when the Bharat Stage – IV (BS-IV) norms will come into effect.

At present, Tata Motors’ manufactures Nano’s with BS-II and BS-III engines. After April 2010, the company will be manufacturing BS-III and BS-IV-compliant cars. “From the date that BS-IV and BS-III norms become applicable in the respective cities, the company will sell only BS-IV and BS-III Nano’s in those cities,” said Debasis Ray, head – corporate communications of Tata Motors, in an e-mail response.

When asked whether the company would charge extra after BS-IV norms come into effect, he said, “As we have mentioned in our ‘terms & conditions’ of the booking process, Tata Motors retains the right to change the BS II/III preference of the customer in the event that the norms/regulations change, based on the city selected. The company will intimate the customer about the same, and the customer will have to pay the differential amount, as may be applicable, before taking delivery of the car.”

Considering the limited capacity of the Pantnagar plant in Uttarakhand, which has manufacturing capacity of 50,000 units per year, the mother plant at Sanand in Gujarat will start production by end of this year or early next year. The remaining 50,000 customers are likely to be asked to pay more money for Nano before its delivery. At present, there is a difference of around Rs. 6,000 between the BS-II and BS-III models. But, in case of BS-IV variant of Nano, the difference may be higher, the expert added.

Asking for more money from customers would be against Tata Motors chairman Mr. Ratan Tata’s commitment that the initial 100,000 customers, who would be picked through a computer draw, would be promised price protection, which means they would be getting the cars as per the promised launch day prices despite economic conditions in the future.

After April 2010, the BS-IV norms will be applicable in 11 cities, while BS-III norms will be implemented in semi-urban and rural areas. The emission norms will help in reducing sulphur content in the air. “To meet the stringent BS-IV emission norms, the company will have to upgrade the catalytic converter that leads to emission of sulphur and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere,” said Mr. Vivek Chattopadhyaya, senior researcher – clear air programme, Centre for Science and Environment.

An expert from the Automotive Research Association of India said, “It would be better if uniform emission norms are implemented in the country. This will not only reduce pollution but also help customers to buy same vehicle across the country.”

Source: Financial Chronicle