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From April 2020, India will skip a whole generation of emission norms and will get the BS6 standards from BS4. Even though the government announced the deadline a few years back, there are a few car manufacturers who have made some critical changes to their strategy. The biggest change of the few manufacturers is to drop the diesel engine from the whole line-up. Even though the popularity of the petrol-powered models has been on a rise since a long time now, especially because of the low-price difference between petrol and diesel fuel prices in the market, the diesel-powered vehicles do make up for a large portion of sales in the market.
Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car manufacturer was the first to announce that they will discontinue the diesel-powered models in the Indian market due to the new emission norms. RC Bhargava, the chief of Maruti Suzuki, said that offering diesel engines after the new emission norms in India will increase the price of the vehicles sharply. Instead, they will bring in alternative fuels like electric vehicles and CNG-run vehicles. It should be noted that Maruti Suzuki launched the newly-developed 1.5-litre diesel engine in the Indian market earlier this year. The investment for developing an all-new engine is hundreds of crores. Nonetheless, Maruti Suzuki has also said that they may re-introduce the diesel-powered vehicles in the Indian market if there is a strong demand for them in the future. Maruti currently offers seven BS6 compliant petrol models in the Indian market.
Renault, the French manufacturer has also officially said that they will not offer diesel-powered vehicles in the market after the new emission norms kick in. According to a leading auto portal, Renault will not sell the diesel-powered cars because introducing the new BS6 emission norms in the diesel engine will increase their price by a few lakhs and it will become unaffordable for the common customers. Due to the low demand, the diesel-powered vehicles will be discontinued.
Nissan, the partner of Renault in India and the brand who had launched rebadged vehicles from each other in the past will also discontinue the diesel engines in the future. Nissan currently offers diesel engine options will all its affordable models including Micra, Sunny, Terrano and Kicks. According to some news outlets, Nissan will also discontinue its diesel-powered products in the near future.
According to some reports, Volkswagen Group, which was involved in a global scandal for diesel engines will also drop the diesel engine options from their line-up in India. The facelifted Polo, which will be launched in the coming days will only get a petrol engine. In the future, Volkswagen will continue to launch products with the BS6 compliant petrol engines while the diesel engines will be discontinued. Skoda will lead India 2.0 strategy for the Volkswagen Group and, according to various reports, will discontinue the diesel variants of the Rapid in the coming months while all the other models from the brand that carries a diesel engine will be discontinued in the future.
No BS6 diesel in India?
While Maruti Suzuki and other manufacturers like Kia have already launched BS6 compliant petrol vehicles in the Indian market, the cost of developing a diesel engine and making it compliant to BS6 norms requires a lot of work and investment. The investment will increase the price of the vehicles and will increase the price difference between petrol and diesel cars by a lot. This is why the aforementioned manufacturers have announced that they will not offer diesel-powered vehicles in the market. However, manufacturers like Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Ford, Tata and Mahindra have mentioned that they will launch the BS6 compliant diesel cars and will continue to offer the diesel-powered vehicles when the new norms set in.