In what can be considered to be a surprising move, Maruti Suzuki on Thursday announced that it will phase out all of its diesel-powered cars by April 2020. 1st of April, 2020, is also the deadline after which the BSVI emission norms will kick into official existence. Following up the announcement, Maruti Suzuki Chairman, R.C. Bhargava has now said that those who want to buy a diesel vehicle, now is the best time to do so. According to Maruti’s head honcho, the price of diesel cars will rise significantly after BSVI emission norms come into play and therefore buying a diesel car before April 2020 is a wise decision for diesel car lovers.
In his own words, R.C. Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, said:
“From April 1, we will have no diesel car on sale… Depending on how customers react to BS VI diesel vehicles next year… if we find that there is a market for such cars, we will develop a BS VI diesel vehicle in reasonable period of time,”
He further added that this year is the last chance for shoppers to buy diesel cars at low prices.
“If you wait till next year, you will have to pay substantially higher price. So if I was a diesel car fan, I would certainly buy a diesel car this year and not wait.”
Currently, diesel cars account for about 23% of Maruti Suzuki’s domestic sales. During 2018-19 alone, the company sold a total of 4.63 lakh diesel-powered vehicles. The company’s announcement to discontinue its diesel mills was made citing uncertainty over demand for such vehicles due to “significant” increase in price once the new BS VI emission norms kick in. As of now, Maruti Suzuki has two diesel engines in its portfolio, the 1.3-litre, Fiat-sourced MultiJet engine and the new 1.5-litre, four-cylinder DDiS engine.
None of these engines is BSVI ready and hence will have to be discontinued from April 2020. Upgrading them to be BSVI compliant will result in a substantial surge in the vehicle prices, which would then affect the demand according to Maruti. Therefore, what the Maruti head Honcho says makes perfect sense and you should buy a diesel car before April 2020 to get the best deal. Other manufacturers like Tata, Mahindra, and Hyundai among others will continue to sell diesel-powered vehicles but their price will go up considerably due to the cost involved in the upgradation of the engines to BSVI norms. So if you already have a plan to buy a car and are more interested in diesel-powered vehicles, no point in shelling a significant amount extra when you can get one now at a lower price.
Maruti Suzuki, however, has not put a full stop to its diesel plans. The company could bring back a diesel engine that is BSVI compliant if demand for costlier diesel car exists. The company is more likely to bring the diesel in more expensive models like the Ertiga, Ciaz and the S-Cross than in the hatchback segment where pricing plays a significant role. However, note that it is not certain that the company will bring a diesel engine as an option for sure but could do it if demand persists for a higher priced diesel car.
Moreover, according to R.C. Bhargava, even if the company decides to bring a diesel BS VI engine to production, it would be in the 1,500 cc engine category. This means that the 1.3-litre unit will be done away with and the 1.5-litre engine could be converted into being BSVI compliant. But BSVI is not the only headache for the company as it will also look towards meeting the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulation, which would probably be in effect from 2023. This means that the lifecycle costs of the BSVI engine need to be assessed before making the conversion as RDE would further drive up the costs. On the whole, if diesel powered cars are what you dig, now is the time to get one.