Maruti Suzuki decides against reintroducing diesel vehicles with an eye on upcoming emission norms

For those hoping to see Maruti Suzuki sell diesel cars once again, here’s some bad news – India’s leading carmaker has decided against return to the diesel passenger vehicle market, as it estimates demand for diesel-powered vehicles to drop further with the onset of the next phase of emission norms in 2023. According to a recent report, Maruti Suzuki believes the next phase of the BS6 emission norms – referred to as the BS6 Stage-II norms – will see the cost of diesel vehicles rise sharply, which is set to negatively impact sales and further accelerate the shift to petrol cars and vehicles powered by alternate fuels.

"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," MSI Chief Technical Officer C V Raman told PTI in an interaction.

Raman cited the stricter emission norms – Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE-2) regulations due in 2022 and BS6 Stage-II norms due in 2023 – as the chief reason behind Maruti’s decision to avoid re-entering the diesel vehicle space.

"In 2023 the new phase of emission norms will come which is likely to drive up the cost. So, we believe that diesel percentages may further come down. We do not know about the competition but as MSI we do not have any intention to participate in the diesel space," Raman noted.

Maruti Suzuki phased out all diesel vehicles in its portfolio in the run up to the implementation of BS6 emission norms in April 2020. Image: Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki had pulled diesel variants of all its vehicles off shelves in the run up to the implementation of BS6 emission norms in April 2020. Barring its budget-oriented models such as the Alto and Wagon R, Maruti Suzuki previously offered diesel engines with all of its popular models, including the Swift, Ignis and Baleno hatchbacks, Dzire and Ciaz sedans, Ertiga MPV, Vitara Brezza compact SUV and the flagship S-Cross.

It was briefly speculated that Maruti was plotting a return to manufacturing diesel vehicles again in the last few months, with test vehicles being spotted on multiple occasions. Rumours suggested Maruti contemplated reintroducing a diesel engine option for the larger vehicles in its portfolio, but the latest comment from the company confirms diesel vehicles are not part of its future plans.

Maruti Suzuki’s current model range is currently powered by 1.0-, 1.2- and 1.5 litre petrol engines, and seven of its models are also available in CNG form.

Raman said the company will focus on improving its existing petrol powertrains in terms of fuel efficiency and may also look at a new family of engines to power its product portfolio.

"We have said that we will improve our existing powertrains, which is already happening. The new K10-C engine in the second-gen Celerio is one improvement. Similarly, the 1.2-litre engine has undergone some change. So, from a fuel efficiency perspective, we will improve our internal combustion engine technology. We already have the mild-hybrid technology at the higher end. Besides, we are propagating more CNG because of the low running cost. Seven out of 15 models already have the CNG trims. In future, more brands will come with the technology," he added.

With inputs from PTI

Also read: Why Maruti Suzuki does not want to go all-electric just yet

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