Maruti Reaffirms Intent To Keep Off Diesel Engines

Published On Nov 29, 2021 08:00 AM By Sonny

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The carmaker is wary of rising costs and wavering demand for diesel engines, a problem likely to be compounded by stricter emission norms in the future

The Chief Technical Officer of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), C V Raman, confirmed recently in an interview with PTI that the company has ruled out any chances of returning to the diesel-car market.

“We are not going to be in the diesel space. We had indicated earlier that we will study it, and if there is customer demand, we can make a comeback. But going forward, we will not be participating in the diesel space,” said Raman.

Related: Maruti May Bring Back The 1.5-Litre Diesel If There Is Demand For It

BS6 Emission Norms Are Now In Effect

The MSI Chief Technical Officer cited the upcoming stricter emission norms in 2023 as the primary reason, stating that the carmaker believes it will drive up the cost of a diesel vehicle even more. Consequently, the share of diesel-powered cars will shrink further, believes the carmaker. Similar reasons were given in 2019 when Maruti first announced it would stop offering diesel engines in the BS6 era.

Instead, the carmaker has directed its efforts towards making its petrol engines more fuel-efficient. As proof, Maruti launched the second-gen Celerio with the updated K10C 1-litre petrol engine as its most frugal powertrain with a maximum claimed economy of 26.68kmpl. That’s more efficient than any of Maruti’s diesel engines on sale before April 2020.

The other engines in Maruti’s lineup are the 1.2-litre and 1.5-litre petrol units. The former gets mild-hybrid tech in select models and variants, while the latter features mild-hybrid tech across the board. A Maruti EV is not due to arrive before 2025, but the carmaker will be providing more electrification in its powertrains to pursue efficiency and cleaner emissions.

Maruti Vitara Brezza Mild Hybrid

Ahead of electrification, Maruti will also be providing the CNG option across more of its models soon due to its lower running costs. As of now, only the Alto, S-Presso, Wagon-R, Eeco, and Ertiga are offered with a factory-fitted CNG variant. The CNG option has its drawbacks too, as it returns less range per tank, meaning far more frequent trips to the gas stations than petrol-powered cars.

The country’s largest carmaker is already looking to develop flex-fuel engines that will be compatible with E20 fuel (mix of up to 20 percent ethanol in petrol) in the future.

Maruti is not alone in its decision to let go of the diesel engine for passenger cars. Skoda and Volkswagen also committed to not offering diesel engines in India going forward, while many others are in the process of discontinuing their diesel options, Renault and Nissan, for example.

However, Hyundai, Kia, Tata, Mahindra, and MG have invested in diesel powertrains for the time being. A common theme between these carmakers is that they compete in more premium segments and offer larger cars than Maruti.

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