Like elsewhere, India is also being affected by the diesel rage. Cars fuelled by petrol are quickly making way for cars that are run on diesel. The change in trends isn’t subtle; it’s there for all to see. A quick one minute stare at a heavy traffic crossing will give you a fairly good idea of the changing trend. Diesel cars, as people have learned, are far more fuel efficient than that of their petrol variants. Diesel does well in cutting down travelling expenses in such times as these, when sharp rise in fuel costs is plaguing entire nations. It has become the sole determinant when it comes to buying from among the various car models. Hence, with petrol being the costlier option, diesel is the preferred choice. Moreover, the diesel variants provide more torque per cc of fuel, putting in more thrust to drive the vehicles. Previously diesel was used mainly in large utility vehicles, but now has infiltrated the small car domain. Though fuel prices have steadily increased, it’s the petrol price that has skyrocketed up to fantastical levels overwhelming all and sundry. This has left the car makers with no other choice than to redesign their engines and various car components to bring out diesel variants to their previously ‘petroled’products.
Cometh demand and cometh supply! Diesel variants becoming increasingly sought after, Maruti Suzuki has planned to launch a number of diesel cars adding to the already existing list of diesel run cars by the company. With petrol prices going through the roof, the largest Indian carmaker is going the diesel way. It’s a very competitive market out there, and Maruti has been falling behind in the rat race, with its competitors having already launched fuel economic diesel variants in numbers. Along with that a slump in the auto industry hasn’t done any help to the Maruti Suzuki team. Their Chief Executive and Managing Director, Mr. Shinzo Nakanishi has announced that the company saw a 40 percent drop in sales, last year 2011. This is a massive drop when you consider the scale of production and sales of Maruti Suzuki units. So the company has gone into turbo boost mode for the damage control.
On the first agenda, it has the production of more diesel cars. The team now plans to manufacture 300,000 diesel engines per year through their Suzuki Powertrain unit. This Powertrain is collaboration between Suzuki Motors and Maruti Gurgaon unit. On the other hand, to make up for the delay in the Maruti advent in diesel engines, they have invested in buying around 100,000 diesel engines. This is to be followed by three consecutive years of buying diesel cars, from the Fiat India. The legal binding between the companies is brought about with the contract between Fiat and that of Suzuki Motor Corp.
Maruti has a few in productions that run on diesel, namely the Maruti Swift, the Maruti Swift Dzire and the Maruti Ritz models. All of them run on a 1.3 liter diesel motors. After the company having been bulldozed by a bad patch, is now seeing a better time with their sales and hence their revenue charting high numbers. The seven month decline in sales had put Maruti behind the race leaders, but it seems that slump is now behind them. The New Year brought about a change in sales, with the company seeing a 5.18 percent hike in sales. This is a complete turnaround, since just a month back the company registered a 7.1 percent decline in sales.
The Managing Director, Mr. Shinzo Nakanishi seems relieved more than anything over the statistical figures. The changing figures are an indication that the Suzuki bad times has relented. The delighted MD informed that the company is taking great efforts to make up for the last year’s 17 percent negative growth by following up the 10 percent growth with a bigger 11 percent growth. The April- December 2011 slump will take some time to get over, added the Director. With tie ups with Fiat and with a large production house churning out diesel variants, it seems Maruti Suzuki will soon be back on the fast lane.