The latest hike in fuel prices, coupled with the major difference between the price of petrol and diesel, has got many car manufacturers worried. Diesel car sales are reportedly already growing faster than the sale of petrol cars since the last couple of years, with the increasing price difference between fuels only adding to this trend.
Diesel variants have been receiving a high demand, prompting car manufacturers to look for more variants in this fuel. According to Maruti Suzuki’s chief general manager of marketing and sales, Shashank Srivastava, Diesel used to account for 23% sales in 2005 to 2006. He expects this percentage to increase significantly than the current 30%. In the coming three to four, it could even be 45 to 50%.
According to reports, diesel versions of car models like Figo, Polo, Dzire and Swift are some of the models which receive a waiting since their launch. Srivastava reportedly said that the increasing popularity of diesel variants was noticeable as whenever models were released in diesel and petrol versions, the diesel version rated higher sales.
In these types of models, diesel versions account for almost 70% sales. Volkswagen’s passenger car’s director of sales, Neeraj Garg, is more bullish. He projects that the diesel car market will increase by 50% in the next three to four years itself. He said that diesel has been growing quite strongly, even surprising them and causing them to bring out more diesel variants.
Two of the company’s mainline models, the Volkswagen Vento sedan and the Polo hatchback have already secured 50% sales for their diesel variants. Garg also said that though most people are opting for diesel variants because of difference in fuel prices, the advancement and refinement of diesel engines is also another reason why they are enjoying increased preference.
Companies are also making changes as they get ready for the shift in consumer preference to diesel. Hyundai will open a new diesel engine facility, whereas companies like Ford, GM and Maruti are increasing the capacity of their diesel engines.
Arvind Saxena, Hyundai India’s director of marketing and sales, said that this trend is definitely strong, and they believe that it is bound to increase by 5% to 7% in the coming three-four years. This increase, however, should not be taken as small, as this is a large and rapidly increasing market.