Merc in diesel bind

Car giants counter emission concerns with new model launch

By Anasuya Basu
  • Published 8.02.16

New Delhi, Feb. 7: Mercedes-Benz India, which had a dream run in 2015 with sales of 13,502 units, is likely to face the heat this year following a ban on vehicles with two-litre diesel engines in the national capital region (NCR).

"It (the ban) came as a massive surprise to us. It is very unfair. We have been totally affected by this," said Roland Folger, managing director and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, at the Delhi Auto Expo 2016.

The ban will prevent Mercedes from selling eight of its models - the A200 D, B200 CDI, C220 D, E250 CDI, S350 D, GLE 350 D, GL 350 CDI and CLS 250 CDI. The last three cars have diesel engines only.

"The year 2015 has been excellent for us. But now we are stumped. We will of course find a way out, but what I fail to understand is why this ban and how is it going to help? Singling out a few 4,000 vehicles of 2,00,000 will not really go a long way in reducing pollution," Folger said.

He, however, welcomed the Centre's decision to bring ahead the implementation of Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emission norms to 2020.

"This is a totally a sustainable solution, bringing ahead the BS-VI norms from 2022 to 2020. We can comply with that even earlier in 2018, given how early can the government give us the fuel. We have the technology with us but want complete coverage of all gas stations with the compliant fuel. We want reliable stations because these technologies are fuel-sensitive," he said.

Folger said the BS-VI norms would reduce the level of nitrogen oxides by 81 per cent and particulate matter by 90 per cent.

He, however, admitted that additional costs for the implementation of BS-VI would be "quite a lot". "Some of the parts will have to sourced from outside, such as the diesel particulate filter that is sensitive to a high degree of sulphur in the fuel," he said.