The Supreme Court of India has extended the temporary ban on registration of cars and SUVs powered by diesel engines with cubic capacity of 2,000cc or above in the NCR region till the next hearing which is scheduled for May 9, 2016.
The apex constitutional court had first issued the directive in December 2015 which was supposed to cease on March 31, 2016. However, on March 31, 2016 the Supreme Court had announced that the ban will be extended till April 30, 2016. This is the second time that the ban has been extended. There is still no clarity on whether the ban could be extended again or will come into effect in other cities as well.
Needless to say, new car and SUV sales of manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Toyota whose model line-up comprise of vehicles powered by diesel engines above 2,000cc will continue to take a hit. Other vehicle manufacturers have been trying to find a way around the ban. Mahindra was quick to launch it's Scorpio and XUV models with a new 1.99-litre mHawk diesel engine. Tata is also said to be working on lower capacity diesel engines.
Diesel vehicles are primarily being targeted in Delhi because of the Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) emissions. This is a bi-product of diesel combustion and the authorities were concerned regarding the high density of PM2.5 (particulates sized 2.5 microns or smaller) in the air. Despite several manufacturers trying to contest the ban by saying that their diesel engines are modern and BS-IV compliant, the Supreme Court continues to extendthe ban.