While diesels are off the table for small cars, the carmaker will study the market response to BS6 models higher up the price band.
As is widely known, India’s leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki will withdraw diesels from its line-up before the roll-out of BS6 norms on April 1, 2020. In a recent interview to Autocar India, CV Raman, senior executive director, Maruti Suzuki India, reiterated the carmaker’s stance on BS6 diesels. “There is no plan for a BS6 diesel from Maruti at this point of time and we have gone on record to say that. We feel that the price points are going to be very high. The price difference between petrol and diesel models will go up from the present Rs 1 lakh to at least Rs 2 lakh. And once you do that, especially in a small car, customers will not absorb that kind of a price point”, Raman said. Interestingly, he did hint that diesels haven’t been completely ruled out for the future, saying the carmaker will keep an eye on the market. “If there is a need in the future for products, not the small cars, that do require BS6, we will wait, watch and see how the market is reacting to the change,” he added.
It is understood that Maruti is waiting for a pan-India roll-out of BS6-grade diesel to gather real-world data to test and fine-tune the BS6 version of its new 1.5-litre diesel engine. In the aftermath of Dieselgate, carmakers want to clear all emission norms with a large safety margin, making it essential to test in a variety of conditions and driving environments. Test mules of the Maruti Ertiga with the BS6 version of the 1.5 diesel engine have been spotted testing in NCR where BS6 fuels are readily available.
Maruti’s 1.5-litre diesel unit will require the incorporation of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to be made future-proof. The cost of the technology would make the engine too expensive for small cars and any potential comeback would only be viable for pricier models like the Ertiga MPV, Ciaz sedan and S-Cross crossover.
Of the mass manufacturers, only Kia Motors has a BS6-compliant diesel engine at the moment. Hyundai, Ford, Honda and Tata will also introduce BS6 diesel models around April 1, 2020.
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