Ban on norm-compliant vehicles worst advt of India: Toyota
With the Supreme Court set to take up the matter of ban on diesel cars and SUVs on Monday, the world's largest automaker Toyota said continued restrictions on vehicles that comply with all regulations would be the "worst advertisement of India".
The company, which operates in India as a joint venture -- Toyota Kirloskar Motor -- with the Kirloskar group, is among the worst hit and has not been selling its popular vehicles Innova and SUV Fortuner in the Delhi-NCR region since the ban was imposed in December last year.
"If we don't get a breakthrough on Monday, our vehicles despite being compliant of all regulations in India would continue to be banned. That's the worst advertisement of India," Toyota Kirloskar Motor Vice-Chairman and Whole-time Director Shekar Viswanathan told PTI.
Stating that the environment lobby is not adequately informed, he said: "Does the ban suggest to mean that other diesel, petrol and CNG driven vehicles don't pollute? Why is the ban only on 2,000 cc and above diesel cars and SUVs?"
On the company's plans in case the ban stays, Viswanathan said: "Then, we will sit out of the market where the ban is imposed. We cannot change the engine specification as our customers may not desire it."
He also cautioned that there would be "losses, laying off of people and hardships for dealerships" in the auto industry if other cities were to seek a similar ban on such diesel vehicles as is being currently done in the capital and NCR.
Questioning the rationale of the ban, he said: "While the latest BS-IV compliant cleaner vehicles are banned, old vehicles of pre-BS era, BS I, I and III continue to pollute."
Asked if Toyota is ready for an environment compensation cess on the lines of the Supreme Court asking the Delhi Police to pay 30 per cent of the real value of new vehicles as a pre-condition for their registration, Viswanathan said: "That would be too much of a burden for ordinary customers."
Besides Toyota, other manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover and Mahindra & Mahindra are the major automobile firms hit by the ban.
The automobile industry has been against the ban, saying such restrictions will not help achieve the desired objective of reducing pollution and will only vilify diesel technology.
Maruti Suzuki India Chairman R C Bhargava had termed the ban as "totally arbitrary".