Earlier this week, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) said it has temporarily stopped taking orders for the diesel variant of the Innova Crysta, “due to its high demand that has resulted in an increased waiting period for the diesel variant.”
TKM, however, added it will continue taking orders for the petrol variant of the Innova Crysta.
Petrol versus diesel
Small cars are usually powered by petrol and large cars by diesel, because diesel engines are more fuel efficient and provide high torque at low engine RPM. Large cars are heavy, and using petrol engines with lower fuel efficiency (than diesel) increases their running cost.
Traditionally, diesel has been a cheaper fuel in India than petrol (though the gap is closing), and that further lowers running costs of large petrol cars.
Innova is synonyms with diesel
Since its launch in 2005 till 2016, the Innova (it was rebranded as the Innova Crysta in 2015) was available only in diesel. In 2016, it got the big 2,694cc petrol engine (166 PS; 245 Nm), with a claimed fuel efficiency of 10.83 km/litre (the diesel returns 15.1 km/litre).
The petrol model gradually became popular because it made the already comfortable Innova Crysta more comfortable. Users realised that the cabin of the Innova Crysta petrol was far quieter than diesel, and vibrations so little that it made long journeys far more comfortable.
Users also understood that despite its relatively lower fuel efficiency, the total cost of ownership of the Innova Crysta petrol was lesser than diesel, because the petrol model was priced lower (see table).
Auto analysts told FE that TKM might not re-launch the Innova Crysta diesel and may instead replace it with a strong hybrid mated to petrol engine. Be that as it may, this move by TKM proves that now is the start of the end of diesel even in large cars (it has already all but disappeared from the small car segment).