Maruti Suzuki, it seems, is going slow on diesel powered cars, what with India’s leading automaker eschewing plans of putting up additional capacity to manufacture turbo diesel engines. The automaker has scaled down plans of expanding its diesel engine manufacturing factory at Gurgaon. Maruti Suzuki has deferred a 1,000 crore rupee investment that was initially planned in order to expand the diesel engine making factory’s capacity, from 150,000 units/annum to 300,000 units/annum. Maruti Suzuki’s new strategy of going slow on turbo diesel engine power has to do with petrol engined cars making a comeback in the Indian car market’s entry level segments.
Presently Maruti Suzuki has a capacity of manufacturing 450,000 Multijet turbo diesel engines at Manesar, under license from Italian automaker Fiat. The automaker also has a diesel engine manufacturing capacity of 150,000 twin cylinder turbo diesel engines each year at Gurgaon, with these engines meant to power the upcoming Y9T light pick up truck, which will be launched next year. Now that Maruti Suzuki has scaled down its diesel engine plans for small cars, it remains to be seen if the likes of the Celerio Diesel and the WagonR Diesel hatchbacks would see the light of the day. Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki has continued its sourcing agreement for 100,000 Multijet diesel engines/year from Fiat India.
Maruti Suzuki isn’t the only automaker in India to go slow on plans for turbo diesel engined cars in the entry-segment. Tata Motors has shelved plans of introducing the Nano Diesel while Honda also put the Brio Diesel on hold after extensively testing it on Indian roads. Maruti Suzuki, for its part, has been testing the diesel powered Celerio on roads in India’s National Capital Region (NCR). If the Celerio Diesel makes it to the production stage, the car is expected to hit Indian roads sometime next year. With the price differential between and petrol and diesel fuels reducing to never-been-seen levels and with the Indian government mulling total diesel deregulation by the end of the year, small capacity diesels may not see the light in the given circumstances.