Further intensifying competition in the diesel hatchback segment, General Motors on Monday launched Chevrolet Beat, equipped with 1-litre ‘Smartech' diesel engine specifically designed for the Indian market. The compact car comes in three versions, priced between Rs.4.29 lakh and Rs.5.45 lakh.

“Offering a diesel engine developed for Indian consumers in our most popular model is a momentous achievement for GM India. We are confident that with its best-in-segment design, performance and safety, Beat diesel will set a new industry benchmark and be a winner with local car buyers,” General Motors India President and Managing Director Karl Slym told journalists here.

The diesel engine, developed at the General Motors' technical centre in Bangalore in collaboration with GM Powertrain Europe, is the U.S.-carmaker's smallest diesel engine globally. The engine delivers 62.5 PS of power and a mileage of 24 km a litre. Moreover, the engine oil only needs to be changed every 15,000 km or 1.5 years, thereby giving the advantage of lower maintenance costs.

Stating that GM India may consider introducing the diesel version of its entry-level car ‘Spark' that can be powered by the same engine but with some modifications, Mr. Slym said: “We do not have any plans to manufacture this engine anywhere in the world…we are now producing about 6,000 units of diesel engines a month at our Talegaon facility (Maharashtra).”

“We have taken the expertise from Europe, the hub of diesel technology, but at the same time engaged our engineers in India to make sure that we don't give a completely European engine…we plan to export the diesel engine to Europe as well after meeting the demand in India,” he said. GM India now sells around 3,000 units of Beat every month, and with the introduction of the diesel variant, it hopes to increase its sales to around 5,000 units a month, according to Mr. Slym.

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