Government mandate on BIS certification for rims and safety glass in the luxury market

Chennai: Supercars may be flying, but the segment expects a punch to the jaw once the government’s mandatory quality control orders for rims and safety glass kick in. The quality control ordinance requires that all rim components and safety glass used in cars sold in India, whether locally manufactured or imported, must have BIS certification.
The rim notification, first introduced in 2020 and extended for a year thereafter, is now applicable, while the safety glass standards will come into force from April 2023. Currently, only a tiny part of the premium and luxury car market includes fully built cars units including super luxury models like the BMW X6 or Mercedes Benz V-Class or niche products like BMW’s electric range or guard vehicles Mercedes Benz apart from luxury sports car brands like Lamborghini and Porsche for example.
Currently, automakers are allowed to import up to 2,500 cars without homologating them in India, provided they are roadworthy in certain global markets. When this rule comes into effect, spare parts for imported cars will become problematic to import, say luxury car traders.
“The decision to exempt type approval for 2,500 CBU units has been a welcome move, providing customers with a wider choice of products, accelerating their earlier introduction and also reducing costs. The government has also been considerate in exempting these CBU from BIS marking certifications on glasses and rims.However, it is necessary to exempt spare parts such as glasses and rims required for these CBU vehicles in the life cycle of BIS certification, which will benefit directly to end consumers and remove other complexities in the system,” said Martin Schwenk, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India. Mercedes Benz has “requested the authorities to consider this waiver,” he added.
Auto marketers say that insisting on BIS certification for a segment that includes such small volumes will simply cause companies to crack down on imported models altogether. “Volumes are too low for companies to want to invest in specific validation, which will kill the luxury car market,” said automotive specialist Hormazd Sorabjee.
The quality control order is not specific to only imported cars – even completely knocked down kits will have to comply with it. Luxury carmakers maintain they will comply with the regulations by 2023, but volumes in the all-import segment simply won’t make sense.
The 30,000-unit luxury car segment mainly comprises models assembled in India and the imported supercar niche represents less than 5% of this market. Imported cars with price tags over $40,000 pay 100% tax, while those under 60%. Interestingly, while the overall luxury car market has contracted during the pandemic, the supercar segment has done well with affluent customers investing in their dream wheels.

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