25 January, 2021

Bucking The Trend: Diesel Cars May Go Up In Smoke But How Will That Curb Pollution?

Maruti may phase out small diesel cars but India's bizarre fuel emission policy to jump straight from Euro 4 to Euro 6 will do little to check pollution. Why not incentivise hybrid cars?

Photograph by Suresh K. Pandey
Bucking The Trend: Diesel Cars May Go Up In Smoke But How Will That Curb Pollution?

Last month, Maruti Suzuki, ­India’s largest carmaker, drop­ped a bombshell in the market. It ­announced that it will stop making small diesel cars from next year. ­Immediately, it puts a big question mark on the future of the company’s bestsellers—diesel-only cars like the Brezza and the S-Cross.

The company’s announcement of not upgrading its small diesel cars to BS6 norms—which means a complete drop out of the segment from April 2020—came as a surprise to the automobile ind­ustry. At its peak in 2016-17, diesel cars accounted for 31 per cent of Maruti Suzuki’s sales, which have since then dipped to 26 per cent.  Maruti Suzuki reg­istered its highest ever sales of 18.62 lakh units in 2018-19 as against 17.79 lakh units the previous year.

Announcing the decision to not upg­rade the company’s small diesel car range to BS6 norms, R.C. Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Limi­ted, had exp­lained that “upgrading small diesel eng­ines to BS6 emission regulations...



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