India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki says it is getting out of the diesel market, having discontinued the 1.3-litre multijet engine across its range of cars. It has also stopped manufacturing the 1.5-litre BS-IV diesel motor, but there is a slim chance that it will come back in a few of the company’s vehicles especially for the fleet segment.
The Quint caught up with Maruti Suzuki’s senior executive director - engineering, CV Raman, to discuss Maruti’s “Green Million” plan. The company says it wants to sell its next million cars in the next couple of years.
This lot of cars will be “green”. No, not electric, but rather CNG and hybrid variants. The company plans to launch CNG and mild hybrid variants of its cars initially. It says if there is demand from customers, it will consider bringing back the 1.5 litre diesel in a BS-VI format for some cars.
Even though Maruti showcased the Futuro E concept electric car at the Auto Expo 2020, its plans to launch fully electric cars are still some time away. It is continuing testing its fleet of electric Wagon-R’s which it has been doing for the past two years.
Raman says that for electric cars to be widely adopted the entire ecosystem needs to be created. Maruti only looks at mass market vehicles – and hence feels it isn’t the right time to get into electric vehicles.
The next step, the company says is to get into strong hybrids (petrol-electric powertrains) before switching to pure EVs.
Even though the company only focuses on mass market vehicles, it did bring in the Suzuki Jimny – a three-door, four-wheel drive SUV to gauge consumer reaction. For years there has been speculation that Maruti will launch the Jimny in India to replace the Gypsy, but that hasn’t materialised yet.
This time around it looks like the company is giving it some really serious thought.
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