VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV), the joint venture between Volvo and Eicher Motors, will increase the number of engine offerings under Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) norms, which kick-start from April 1, 2020.
As the new engines are much smaller than the range that VECV currently produces, it has fuelled speculations about the company’s entry into the mini-truck segment. The smallest vehicle that VECV manufactures right now is a 4.9 tonne truck.
A senior VECV official, however, clarified that there are no plans to enter the mini-truck segment immediately.
Vinod Aggarwal, Managing Director and CEO, VECV, said, “We have added two and three litre engines that were not part of our portfolio earlier. The new, smaller engines will be used for a 4.9 tonne truck, which currently uses a 3.8 litre engine. We have no plans to get into the light truck segment as of now but have developed the engine.”
For bigger application trucks, VECV is tapping into Volvo’s technology. It has been producing Euro VI grade engines at its Madhya Pradesh factory for more than a year, before supplying them to Volvo in Europe.
“For the five and eight litre engines, we are completely migrating to Volvo’s technology. We had two five litre engines and one of them is discontinued. We are much better prepared for BS-VI than anyone else because we have experience in making Euro VI engines, which we supply to Volvo. We have lots of learning and have incorporated that in our development process,” Aggarwal told Moneycontrol.
VECV claims it will have one of the widest range of BS-VI engines in India. It will offer a two, three, 3.8, five and eight litre diesel-powered engines besides two CNG-powered engines.
With the government having assured about pan-India availability of BS-VI grade fuel by April 1, 2020, automakers have requested for an even earlier deadline for a smoother transition. Commercial and passenger vehicle makers have warned that running diesel BS-VI vehicles on BS-IV fuel will damage the engine and exhaust systems.
“We do not have any assurance on when the fuel will be made available. We are in dialogue with the government. Our request is that the fuel should be made available from February 1, 2020. It will be very damaging for the engine if a BS-IV fuel is used in a BS-VI engine,” Aggarwal added.
VECV has produced some units of BS-VI grade trucks, which are undergoing tests with consumers.
When asked about the increase in costs of trucks and buses under BS-VI, Aggarwal said: “The cost will be significantly high. It will be higher for low tonnage trucks and low for high tonnage trucks as some part of the transition towards BS-VI has already been incorporated. We will cater to all the applications. Whenever there is a changeover and there is an opportunity to see if that some products are not meeting the customers’ requirements those can be discontinued.”
VECV witnessed 26 percent year-on-year decline in domestic volumes during April-September period to 22,224 units. The CV industry is estimated to be sitting on 60 days of inventory, which companies have been trying to cut down by half. The current BS-IV inventory has to be liquidated before April 1, 2020 and the current high discount structure is expected to stay.