India’s largest car manufacturer – Maruti Suzuki has decided to exit the diesel race for once and all. After discontinuing all its diesel-powered products after the implementation of BS6 in the Indian market, Maruti Suzuki will now focus on vehicles powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and alternative fuels. The decision comes after the Indian government’s push to encourage cleaner forms of mobility and the introduction of flex-fuel-based vehicles in the Indian market.
After discontinuing all the diesel-powered variants from the Indian market, Maruti Suzuki had said that it will launch the diesel engines in the future as per the demand. However, the customer shift towards petrol-powered vehicles has made the manufacturer change its decision and exit from diesel-powered vehicles.
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Maruti Suzuki launched the 1.5-litre diesel engine just sometime before the BS6 implementation in the market. With massive investment, Maruti Suzuki decided to upgrade the engine and launch mid-size vehicles like the Ciaz, Baleno and the Vitara Brezza with the updated engine. However, the company has now shelved the project to upgrade the same engine to BS6 emission norms.
Big targets ahead
Maruti Suzuki plans to sell more than 5 lakh units of CNG-powered vehicles in the Indian market in the next two to three years time period. As the prices of fuel keep on rising, Maruti Suzuki sees an opportunity to sell CNG-powered vehicles in the market.
A fourth of the total sales will come from CNG-powered vehicles by the end of the fiscal year that will end in March 2024. Maruti Suzuki is also planning to launch flex-fuel engines in the Indian market. Close to one-third of its total production will run on green fuel. This will also allow Maruti Suzuki India to meet the future Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE norms as per ETAuto.
The original plan included re-introducing the diesel engines with its upcoming Utility Vehicle model line-up. The number 1 manufacturer plans to launch as many as five new utility vehicles by 2023. The line-up includes models like the much-awaited Maruti Suzuki Jimny and the all-new Vitara Brezza.
Rising diesel prices
Maruti Suzuki also gave the rising price of diesel as another reason to not re-introduce the diesel engine options in the Indian market. The brand is also focussing on the electrification of its models with the high prospective of electric cars becoming more popular in the future.
Diesel fuel saw one of the highest rises in the recent future. In FY21, the price of diesel increased by Rs 18.58 in the national capital. The price of diesel fuel, which was Rs 62.29 on 1st April 2020 became Rs 80.87 a litre on 31st March. The price difference between petrol and diesel is also now much lower than before. The gap is now only Rs 10.
Maruti Suzuki also planned to offer popular models like the XL6, Ertiga, Ciaz, and the Vitara Brezza with the diesel engine. Interestingly, Maruti Suzuki’s rivals like Hyundai Motor India, Tata Motors continue to offer diesel engine options with their line-up in India.
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