Maruti to pull the plug on diesel cars in April 2020

Significant rise in prices likely with new BS VI emission norms depressing demand.

April 25, 2019 06:45 pm | Updated 10:01 pm IST - New Delhi

Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s first premium cross-over S-Cross.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s first premium cross-over S-Cross.

Car buyers eyeing a diesel-powered vehicle from the Maruti Suzuki stable will have less than a year to make their choice as the company plans to stop manufacturing such vehicles starting next financial year.

Maruti Suzuki, which is the largest car maker in the country, on Thursday, announced plans to discontinue selling all diesel cars in the country from April 1, 2020, citing uncertainty over demand for such vehicles due to “significant” increase in price once the new BS VI emission norms kick in.

“From April 1, we will have no diesel car on sale… Depending on how customers react to BS VI diesel vehicles next year... if we find that there is a market for such cars, we will develop a BS VI diesel vehicle in reasonable period of time,” the company’s Chairman R.C. Bhargava said.

He added that this year is the last chance for shoppers to buy diesel cars at low prices. “If you wait till next year, you will have to pay substantially higher price. So if I was a diesel car fan, I would certainly buy a diesel car this year and not wait.”

Diesel cars currently account for about 23% of the automobile giant’s domestic sales. During 2018-19, the company sold a total of 4.63 lakh diesel-powered vehicles.

Multiple variants

While some models in its portfolio such as the Swift, Baleno, Dzire, Ciaz and Ertiga come in both petrol and diesel variants, models such as its very popular Vitara Brezza and S-Cross currently come only with a diesel engine.

The company is expected to introduce a petrol variant of Vitara Brezza soon.

Mr Bhargava said that factors such as ban on diesel vehicles older than 10 years and environmental activists saying that diesel is a more polluting fuel “is creating some sort of an anti-diesel sentiment… How this will play out in the next 2-3 years is something we need to see because you need to make big investment for BS VI diesel engine and you need to be sure that it will work”.

He said that even if the company decides to go in for a diesel BS VI engine, it would be in the 1,500 cc engine category.

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