The Centre has published the Quality Control Order for automobile wheel rims in the Gazette of India making it mandatory for all wheel rims for vehicles, either imported or domestically manufactured for use in the country, to be certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards. It will be effective 12 months from the date of notification in the official gazette.

The Automobile Wheel Rim Component (Quality Control) Order, 2020, published on September 22, comes with exemptions for low volume players following suggestions made by the automobile industry to the government for the same. The industry, however, says that the exemptions are not enough.

“It was pointed out to the government in our discussions that the quality control order could be very difficult to implement for foreign car companies such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Audi, and some exceptions must be provided. While the government has given some exemptions based on volumes, these are not enough and the new order may also serve as a disincentive for luxury carmakers, Lamborghini or Malex for instance, from selling their products in the country,” an industry official told BusinessLine .

Once the quality control order comes into effect, wheel rims for vehicles, including two wheelers and three wheelers, will need to be certified by the BIS based on their adherence to various prescribed Indian standards. For four wheelers, BIS will certify the performance requirements and methods of tests for wheels.

As per the order, the new rules will not apply if number of vehicles sold in India for a given base model and its variants is less than 250 in any consecutive period of six months in a year (up to five wheel rims per vehicle). It will also not apply on automobile wheel rims imported or manufactured in India for Research and Development purpose (up to 100 in a year). Items for exports have also been exempted.

While the Centre was earlier considering an early implementation of the order, it settled on a 12- month time frame, following requests by industry associations for more time.

“I think twelve months is also not enough for BIS to carry out all processes required for certification. However, it is much better than an immediate implementation,” the official said.

The apparent reason for the quality control norms is to, of course, increase road safety. However, the government also wants it to serve the very important objective of checking cheap imports. The order is in line with the Centre’s stated policy of formulating technical regulations such as safety and quality standards for over 350 products to curb imports of non-essential items and promote the idea of `Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and Make in India.

The Centre recently delayed the date of implementation of quality control order on toys as the domestic industry wanted more time due to the Covid-19 disruptions.