With BS VI kicking in from April 1, 2020, diesel cars will cost Rs 2.5 lakh more than petrol, up from Rs 1 lakh now, making them unviable for customers
Maruti Suzuki has decided to bring the curtains down on diesel vehicles from its stables beginning next fiscal. The company, which is the country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer, will thus be the first company to go completely non-diesel with the Bharat Stage VI (BS VI) emission norms kicking in from April 1, 2020.
All models with diesel engines less than 1.5 litres will be phased out, Maruti Suzuki chairman RC Bhargava said on Thursday. “In small cars, the cost of upgrading diesel engines to BS VI standards will be substantial. With the price increase, these vehicles will become unviable for use by customers. We will completely stop selling diesel vehicles from April next year,” Bhargava said. Diesel vehicles are expected to cost around Rs 2.5 lakh more than the petrol version, up from around Rs 1 lakh currently.
“Ever since the BS VI-compliant engines have come (in Europe), diesel vehicle sales have been de-growing even there because the price difference between petrol and diesel has become much bigger. I don’t think the Indian market would be any different, here the buyers are even more price-conscious,” Bhargava noted. He added that the current year is the best period to buy diesel cars as from next year such models are going to get much costlier.
Currently, diesel vehicles comprise 23% of the company’s overall volume. It sold a total of 4.63 lakh diesel units last fiscal.
To compensate for the vacuum created by the phasing out of diesel vehicles, Maruti will try to focus on compressed natural gas (CNG) and hybrid technology vehicles. “We will be able to meet the corporate average fuel efficiency norms by 2022 as higher share of CNG vehicles will help us in meeting them. I hope the Union government’s policies will help grow the market for CNG vehicles,” Bhargava added.
Currently, Maruti has compact cars and sedans such as the Swift, Dzire, Baleno, S-Cross, Ignis and Ciaz powered by a 1.3-litre diesel engine. The compact sports utility vehicle, Brezza is also powered by the same engine. Brezza does not have a petrol engine as of now.
“The segment where we may look at having a BS VI-compliant diesel engine is the 1500cc segment. Nothing below that. If there is demand, we will develop a 1500cc diesel vehicle within a reasonable period of time,” Bhargava said.
On March 28, Maruti introduced an all-new 1.5-litre diesel engine in the Ciaz. The same engine will also be seen on the Ertiga people carrier in the coming weeks and perhaps on the Brezza too.
Italian carmaker Fiat, which was the original manufacturer of the 1.3-litre diesel engine, had decided against upgrading the engine due to cost concerns. Suzuki manufactured the same diesel engine under a licence agreement with Fiat.