The slump of 2019 and the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, have resulted in piling unsold BS4 stocks at company dealerships
The year 2020 was supposed to mark a turn of events for the Indian automotive industry which had been battling low sales over the past many months. The BS6 era was to be ushered in and automakers were scrambling to clear out pending stocks and ramping up production of BS6 compliant models to keep up with what they estimated would see increased sales.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Production came to a standstill and manufacturing units ground to a halt. Component suppliers also shut shop and footfalls at company dealerships dwindled. Vehicle sales dipped significantly and even hefty discounts failed to bring in the response as was expected. The 1st April 2020 deadline for sale of BS4 vehicles arrived and even while the Supreme Court has extended this deadline, the time period is in no way sufficient to clear out pending stocks.
In a bid to help dealer partners, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd (HMSI) has sent a letter to them stating that the company would take back unsold BS4 inventory once the lockdown has been lifted. The company also stated that for dealers in the Delhi and NCR areas, the list would be reviewed as per registration guidelines released by the Supreme Court. The automaker would also bear interest cost of BS6 inventory both on physical stocks and that in transit for the 21 days of the lockdown period.
Apart from this, the company has also announced extended free service and warranty period by 2 months to customers whose free service and warranty is scheduled during the lockdown period of 15th March to 15th April. HMSI has also released payment of around Rs.1,700 crores to all suppliers and dealers so as to allow them to support their staff at this time of crisis with timely payment of salaries.
Earlier this week, the Honda India Foundation, the CSR arm of Honda Group of Companies in India have pledged Rs.11 crore aid towards COVID-19 relief and prevention. All Honda Associates will also donate 1 days salary towards relief fund and dealers have been distributing meals and food grain to all in need.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting out country, Honda had become the first manufacturer to cross the 5.5 lakh BS6 mark, that too well before the 1st April 2020 deadline. The company has a total of 6 BS6 models in their Indian vehicle lineup with includes the Shine, the Unicorn, the Activa 125, the SP 125, Activa 6G, and Dio.
The company introduced new technologies which included Enhanced Smart Power (eSP) technology with ACG Starter motor while all engines also sport a Programmable Fuel Injection (PGM-Fi) system which plays a major role in enhancing performance and mileage of the company’s BS6 vehicles.