It’s being reported by some leading news dailies that the Indian Government looks all set to relax import norms for premium electric vehicles, cars, and bikes by removing restrictions on price and engine capacities, as well as the compulsory local testing.
Doing so will surely pave the way for the launch of many high-end vehicles from carmakers like Tesla, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Toyota, Kawasaki, and Triumph. Currently, as per the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), homologation-free import of only cars that cost at least USD 40,000 (approx Rs 27 lakh) is allowed. Similarly, only two-wheelers that have an 800cc or bigger engine are allowed to skip the mandatory local testing. However, as per the sources, the proposed upcoming norms will allow a manufacturer to import 2,500 units annually without getting the homologation done.
It’s expected that the upcoming norms will benefit manufacturers like Tesla, Toyota and Mercedes, who may end up launching high end cars such as the Model S, Model X, Alphard and the V-Class. Also, the relaxed norms might even prompt manufacturers of high-end electric two-wheelers to launch their products in the country. The Indian road transport ministry has already issued a draft notification on relaxing the import norms. However, to ensure that the imported vehicles meet certain necessary criteria, the vehicles will need to have a right-hand-side steering and it should comply with the international standards set in Europe and Singapore.
“Our aim is to give exposure of more models of vehicles to people. There are certain segments of vehicles, which can be used by physically-challenged or older persons, and these will also be allowed under this scheme. There are global companies which launch several models overseas but introduce only a few models in India despite it being a big growing market,” said a ministry official.
The proposed relaxation in the import policy will also enable companies to import vehicle components that comply with the international standards. Vimal Sumbly, MD of British cult bike maker Triumph, welcomed the measure but said that the government should also look at reducing import duty. “To give a real impetus, the government should also give a relaxation on the import duty, which we need to pay on some of the models.”
Source- Times of India