In the wake of the noose hanging around diesel PVs these days, Maruti Suzuki made one of the biggest headlines of the Indian automotive industry today by announcing the retirement of diesel cars completely from its portfolio by March 2020.
The latest development comes as a shock because Maruti Suzuki had introduced the indigenously developed E15A 1.5-litre diesel engine just last month, in the Ciaz. Further ahead, this engine was expected to become available in the Ertiga, Vitara Brezza and S-Cross and get a BS-VI upgrade by March 2020. The Fiat-developed D13A 1.3-litre diesel engine was known to be phased out by March 2020 and the Baleno, Swift and Dzire were going to become petrol-only models anyways, though.
Diesel models contributed to around 30% of Maruti Suzuki's sales in FY2018-19, which is a significantly big number. The company offers a diesel option in more than half of its passenger cars: Swift, Dzire, Baleno, Ertiga, Ciaz, S-Cross and high-in-demand Vitara Brezza.
Announcing the news today, R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki, said: "From April next year the company will stop manufacturing diesel vehicles since substantially higher development cost will not make diesel a viable option for consumers." And we have taken this decision so that in 2022 we are able to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency norms and higher share of CNG vehicles will help us comply with the norms," he added.
Maruti Suzuki believes that its focus on compressed natural gas (CNG) and hybrid technology driven vehicles will offset the impact of discontinuation of diesel engines.