"There is a visible shift in the number of customers opting for petrol cars," said Nagesh Basavanhalli, president and managing director of Fiat Group Automobiles India Pvt Ltd, a fully owned subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
According to Basavanhalli, the company on an average sells about 1000 cars every month across India. Of these, 900 cars used to be diesel variants, while the rest were petrol-run. "Now we are selling 300 petrol cars every month," he said adding that this trend was even visible in the state of Gujarat.
This diminished sales for diesel cars is largely due to the state oil marketing companies opting for a phased de-control of diesel, whereby the fuel prices are being increased in small monthly doses of 50 paise from January 2013, say company officials of Fiat who were in Ahmedabad on Thursday to launch both the petrol and diesel variants of the Punto Evo, with prices starting from Rs 4,65,637 (ex-showroom Ahmedabad).
According to the company officials, the southern states of India was still the biggest market for diesel cars for Fiat. "Due to larger distances between cities in South, people still opt for diesel cars here," an official added.
Apart from Fiat, even other cars makers like Maruti and Honda are witnessing a similar trend.