Between the rumors of Maruti Suzuki shutting down the development of the new 1.5- litre diesel engine, the latest reports suggest that the automaker is working on the development of the engine and is determined to bring it to the market as well. The in- house developed 1.5- litre diesel motor will be Maruti’s diesel engine of choice in India from 2020 onwards, compliance to the BS- VI emission norms.
Expressing his concerns, Kenichi Ayukawa, MD and CEO, Maruti Suzuki said, “We are readying the 1.5-litre diesel but the point is that how much are people expecting to run them? Because right now after 10 years buyers have to scrap diesel models. Under these conditions are people expected to buy diesel or not? Depending on that we have to consider our diesel business.” Ayukawa also spoke of hybrids as a “replacement for diesels in the future”.
According to Kenichi Ayukawa, “We have already committed to the launch of an electric vehicle but we have not yet decided how much volume. In the case of electric vehicles, we need to totally re-arrange the infrastructure. If those kind of arrangements are not yet completed, it is very difficult to expand the business for electric vehicles. It is necessary that we do it because if we are selling the electric vehicle, we have to arrange the infrastructure for the customer. We are studying that type of vehicle, a big- size SUV. We are discussing here and in Japan to see whether we can develop it.”
Though, the automaker will bring the newly developed 1.5- litre diesel mill, the current 1.3-litre diesel from Fiat will be not be upgraded to meet the new emission norms and will be discontinued in 2019. According to the statement by Maruti Suzuki officials, the production of all BS- IV models will stop by December 31, 2019. Maruti currently assembles a 1.3- litre diesel engine sourced from Fiat in Gurgaon. The engine powers some of its highest- selling models such as Baleno, Vitara Brezza and Ertiga.
The reports suggest that Suzuki has been struggling with refinement on the 1.5- litre engine for quite a long time now, but the reduced customer interest in diesels in general has turned out to be a big concern apart from the NVH. Diesels are set to become a whole lot more expensive in the future and the ever-shrinking gap between petrol and diesel prices has also hurt the popularity of the fuel. Also, the hardware required to allow diesels to meet BS- VI emission standards is costly and will directly affect the prices of the vehicles.
The Maruti Suzuki’s Gurgaon plant also makes an 800 cc diesel engine, which has been developed in- house and is currently offered on Maruti’s Super Carry light truck. The diesel assembly line in Gurgaon has a capacity of approximately 170,000 engines per annum. As electric and hybrid technologies are reshaping automobile manufacturing the world over. Indian automakers too are being impacted by these trends. Maruti now plans to aggressively tap the market for CNG, hybrid and electric cars, while the government has set an ambitious target to allow only electric cars in India by 2030. Stay tuned to V3cars.com for further updates from Maruti Suzuki.