Maruti Suzuki is phasing out diesel engines before the April 2020 deadline kicking in for stringent BSVI emission standards
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), the largest carmaker in the country, will be discontinuing all its diesel engines in a phased manner before the stringent BSVI emission regulations kicking in by April 1, 2020. The Indo-Japanese manufacturer will be launching its first all-electric car next year, the Wagon R EV, as it is making strategic changes to sustain its dominance over the domestic market.
The New Delhi headquartered brand commands more than 50 per cent market share in India and relies heavily on its entry-level cars for registering massive volumes. In recent years, Maruti Suzuki’s expansion into Nexa premium dealerships with new breed of vehicles has worked wonders as it is breaching into new segments with authority – Vitara Brezza and Baleno are prime examples.
Suzuki’s partnership with Toyota has huge importance for the future sales prospects of MSIL. The expertise of Toyota in hybrid and electric vehicle technology is crucial for developing new Maruti Suzuki products as well and ahead of which the upcoming crash test standards and BSVI norms have instigated new challenges.
The Japanese duo is sharing models and co-developing a C-segment MPV as well while commercialising battery tech with high localisation is the major task being dealt with. The cost of upgrading engines has hampered the progress of the oil-burners beyond April 2020 as manufacturers will be forced to pass on the additional cost incurred to customers and it won’t make business sense many a time.
With diesel engines absorbing high costs than petrol motors, the former’s production will be phased out. Maruti Suzuki retailed more than four lakh diesel-powered cars last fiscal and it accounted for nearly one-quarter of its total sales. MSIL’s Chairman RC Bhargava has confirmed saying “From April next year, Maruti will have no diesel cars for sale”.
He further stated: “People who love diesel cars may rush to buy them now. It’s their last chance… If I was a fan (of diesel), I would buy only this year, ” effectively announcing the end of an era. It is no secret that the Fiat-sourced DDiS diesel engines won’t be upgraded to meet BSVI regulations and the 1.3-litre DDiS 200 is offered in several models including Swift, Dzire, Baleno, Ciaz and Ertiga. The Vitara Brezza and S-Cross use only that specific engine currently.
Maruti Suzuki may not abandon the oil burners entirely in the near future and they could be reconsidered if the market shows desirability – premium SUVs above Rs. 10 lakh range for instance with more than 1,500 cc capacity. We can expect Maruti Suzuki to phase out the existing diesel variants in a phased manner and they will be up for grabs till the stocks last.
The new petrol powertrains, like the 1.2 DualJet introduced in Baleno, with SHVS hybrid tech will be relied upon more than ever to fill up the deficit and lower down the portfolio, a much smaller turbo petrol engine could be utilised. The 1.5-litre K15B SHVS petrol that debuted in the Ciaz in August 2018 and later in the second-gen Ertiga in November 2018 will more likely be expanded. It will be interesting to see what’s next for the recently introduced 1.5-litre DDiS 225 diesel motor.