Free Press Journal

Changes in import rules put auto industry in tight spot


New Delhi : The automobile industry is concerned over a proposal by the government to allow imports of up to 2,500 units without the need for adapting to Indian regulations, according to sources in the sector.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in June had sought feedback from stakeholders to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules for allowing import of right-hand drive vehicles with compliance certificate from the country of origin.

The move would allow import of maximum of 2,500 completely-built units or semi-knocked down kits each year. The vehicles could be shipped in by the manufacturers or their authorised representatives.

The government allows such imports only of cars which are priced over $40,000

and bikes which are above 800 cc engine capacity.

In normal practice, imported vehicles for sale in India have to undergo homologation process to conform to the Indian regulations, including safety and emission norms.

“The problem with this move is that any kind of vehicle — a bus, truck, car — can be brought into the country. With this, units could be brought from anywhere including China and it could impact various segments which are already reeling under low offtake,” an industry player, who did not wish to be identified, said.

Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Deputy Director General Sugato Sen said while relaxing import conditions for a limited number of vehicles for R&D and scientific purposes is understandable, 2,500 could be a large number for certain segments of vehicles which is not very desirable to come under relaxed norms.

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