Tata Motors could move away from diesel engines for its small cars such as the Tiago hatchback and Tigor compact sedan. The Nexon compact SUV, which is also a sub-4 meter offering from the automaker, is expected to carry on with the 1.5 liter turbocharged diesel engine.
It remains to be seen if the upcoming Tata Altroz premium hatchback – due for launch in the second half of this year – will get a diesel engine. If the Altroz does end up having a diesel engine option, we expect it to be the Nexon’s 1.5 liter-4 cylinder unit rather than the 1.1 liter-3 cylinder motor that is offered on the Tiago and Tigor.
The decision from Tata Motors to steer away from diesel engines on its small cars has to do with tightening of emission norms from April 2020. Bharat Stage 6 norms will come into force from April 2020, and this will make diesel engined cars significantly more expensive than petrol powered cars.
The price difference between petrol and diesel engined cars could be nearly Rs. 2 lakhs once the new emission norms kick in. This makes diesel engined cars impractical for most buyers in the small car segment. In fact, the country’s leading automaker Maruti Suzuki has already announced that it will not offer diesel engines on its small cars.
Mayank Pareek, Tata Motors’ president of the passenger vehicles business unit, had this to say about the shift away from diesel engines in small cars,
We feel that low demand for entry- and mid-size diesel models will not justify the high costs involved in developing a new small capacity engine. Given that these high costs will ultimately have to be passed on to the end customer, the sale of diesel vehicles will logically see a decline in the industry.
Tata Motors will continue to offer diesel engines on its larger SUVs such as the Hexa, Harrier and upcoming Cassini. This is an approach most car makers in India are likely to take – abandoning small diesels while continuing to offer bigger diesels.
Ford has announced that its diesel powered cars including the Figo and Aspire will continue to be sold even post April 2020, and that it was confident of meeting the April 2020 deadline for BS6 norms. Similarly, Hyundai will also continue offering a diesel engine on most of its offerings save for entry-level hatchbacks. Mahindra is also ready with BS6 diesel engines for many of its SUVs, which will also gain electric variants shortly.