In November last year, Maruti Suzuki stated that it was working overtime to meet the BS-VI emission norms ahead of the deadline on 1st April 2020. Just recently, Maruti reintroduced the Baleno with a BS-VI compliant engine and launched the new BS-VI updated Alto as well. And now, Maruti has made another announcement in the matter, saying that it will phase out diesel engines from its lineup before the BS-VI deadline approaches. It also added that diesel engines may be reintroduced depending upon demand.
Maruti has cited the high cost of upgrading diesel engines to BS-VI compliance as the reason behind the decision. There will be no diesel engines below 1.5-litre in Maruti's lineup from April next year. The manufacturer also noted that 1.5-litre diesel engines may remain or reintroduced based on market response and demand. The decision will also include light commercial vehicles, which only be available with a petrol or CNG powertrain.
"From April 1, 2020 we will not be selling diesel cars. Depending on how customers react... if we find there is a market for diesel cars (after the new emission norms kick in) we will develop it in a reasonable amount of time," Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman RC Bhargava said. The company currently sells a range of diesel vehicles and about 23 percent of all units sold by the company in the domestic market currently are diesel-powered.
Earlier in 2016, the Centre had announced that India would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms. It had stated that from April 1, 2020, only vehicles complying with the latest emission norms would be manufactured while giving three months to automobile firms for the transition to start selling BS-VI vehicles. However, citing air pollution issues, the apex court said no BS-IV vehicles would be allowed to be sold across the country from April 1, 2020.
Maruti Suzuki reported total sales of 4,28,863 units in the domestic market in the FY quarter four (January to March 2019), marking a growth of 0.4%. This comprised 4,21,383 units in the passenger vehicle segment, a decline of 0.4% and 7,480 units of LCV, a growth of 83.6% over the previous year. Exports stood at 29,616 units. Total sales in the quarter stood at 4,58,479 vehicles - a decline of 0.7%.