Exclusive! Maruti to go it alone with diesel tech despite challenges
8th Feb 2018 10:27 am
Confirms in-house development of diesel engine for passenger cars; to make India export hub for the powertrain.
The country's largest carmaker Maruti has confirmed that it will be developing its own diesel technology by 2020 and will move away from its dependence on Fiat for diesel engines.
Speaking to Autocar India on the sidelines of Auto Expo 2018, Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki said the carmaker will develop its own diesel engine despite the decline in popularity of the fuel in India as it foresees a demand for diesel-engine vehicles in the SUV segment and export markets.
"We want to develop our own diesel powertrain. Although the Indian market and some countries globally are facing difficulty with diesel, there are other markets that will continue to develop diesel vehicles. That’s why we want to keep producing some diesels in India and export them," Ayukawa said. He also admitted that the high cost of developing a BSVI-compliant diesel engine is a challenge the company is facing at the moment.
Maruti is working on a 1.5-litre diesel engine in-house that will power future models like the next-generation Vitara Brezza and the S-cross replacement. The 1.5-litre engine is a part of Suzuki’s new family of in-house-developed diesel engines, which also includes the 800cc two-cylinder unit that made its debut in the Celerio diesel. Maruti also has a lot of work to do as far as refinement goes; the Celerio diesel was far from acceptable for higher- segment passenger applications.
Just as with diesel, the carmaker will also develop hybrid technology, despite the government's decision to tax it heavily, as it believes it is vital in curbing pollution until EVs gain prominence. Ayukawa believes the benefit of hybrids is that they can begin saving us fuel right now, instead of waiting until EVs mature.
"Hybrid technology is very important in the Indian market in order to improve vehicle efficiency and reduce pollution. So we are preparing a new family of engines which will come with hybrid application too," he said.
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