India’s largest carmaker is currently witnessing the lowest sales for its diesel vehicles in a decade, as the company is preparing to shut down production of diesel engines completely.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited will be completely discontinuing diesel vehicles from its entire line-up in India. As such, the company has not introduced any BSVI-compliant diesel vehicles recently, while the petrol powered-models have been all upgraded from BSIV to BSVI.
Maruti Brezza, which used to exclusively feature a diesel motor, now only comes with a petrol powerplant
There are various reasons for this decision. Firstly, the switch from BSIV to BSIV emission compliance sees a consequent bump in the price of all vehicles, especially diesel ones. The difference in price between the diesel-powered vehicles and their petrol counterparts would b too high to attract entry-level buyers. Secondly, the falling international crude prices and the rising prices of diesel in India have ensured that petrol isn’t significantly more expensive than diesel. As such, buyers of diesel vehicles now have even less of an incentive to do so, as the additional cost demanded by one isn’t recovered by the difference in fuel prices or the better fuel economy.
“In Europe, where Euro VI standards are already in place, diesel vehicle sales are falling. The effect is expected to be more accentuated here as customers are more price sensitive,”
According to the latest data, Maruti sold a total of 14,85,943 units in 2019. Out of these, 11,51,752 units were petrol vehicles, and 3,34,191 units were diesel ones. This translates to nearly 22.5 per cent of all vehicles being diesel. As the majority of sales (nearly 77.5 per cent) come from petrol vehicles, the company has decided to focus on those.
Still, Maruti knows that the majority of Indian buyers are always on the lookout for cheaper means of transport. As such, the company has decided to invest heavily in CNG technology. Almost every car in Maruti’s line-up will offer a factory-fitted CNG-kit, which can be treated as the company replacement for diesel vehicles. Also, as CNG-powered vehicles emit less harmful gases into the atmosphere, there is a certain “green” angle to this decision as well.
“Per-kilometer running cost for a CNG car is nearly half of that of a diesel car. A CNG vehicle makes more economic sense than diesel. Therefore, there is no reason why people would not adopt CNG if it is making economic sense"
C.V. Raman, senior executive director (engineering), Maruti Suzuki India Ltd
Next in line to receive a petrol engine is the Maruti S-Cross, which will bid farewell to its 1.3-litre diesel engine and receive the same 1.5-litre petrol engine as the refreshed Vitara Brezza.
Other than petrol and CNG, Maruti is also planning to introduce petrol-electric hybrid vehicles to the Indian market, which could be followed by fully-electric vehicles soon. For more such interesting automotive content and the latest news, follow IndianAuto.com