Auto dealers now hit RTO hurdle

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Mumbai: India’s auto industry, already struggling with poor sales, faces another roadblock in some states – regional transport offices in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal are not registering new vehicles.

Dealers are not only stuck with commercial vehicles and two-wheelers conforming to phased-out BS4 emission norms, they’re not even able to get BS-6 vehicles registered.

Vinkesh Gulati, vice president of the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations, said many RTOs have gone slow on registration of new vehicles from April even after government order enabling ‘contactless’ registration.

Some other states have been more progressive. Rajasthan has been a frontrunner in contactless registration, said Nikunj Sanghi, an automotive dealer.

“Contactless registration is currently limited to private vehicles in most states and not for commercial vehicles,” said Sanghi.

RTOs have been asking for written undertakings from dealers. Vehicles are required to be physically inspected at the RTOs. Alternatively, officers from RTOs were willing to inspect them at dealer outlets.

“We were warned not to deliver cars to customers till an inspection was done by RTO authorities,” one dealer said on condition of anonymity.

“Contactless RTO services are appreciated by customers and all stakeholders as it is convenient and minimises transmission. States like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Delhi have taken the lead in such contactless registration of vehicles to use digital systems to provide efficient services for customers,” said Naveen Soni, senior vice president for sales at Toyota Kirloskar Motor. “We expect contactless RTO services to be implemented in other states to ensure speedy contactless services for customers.”

Dealers had something to cheer about after the Supreme Court gave them more time to sell and register BS4 vehicles in view of the lockdown. But now, manufacturers and dealers are struggling with no resolution in sight.




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