Maruti Suzuki To Plug Its Diesel Gap With GDI-Powered Engines
“GDI is a sensible way forward by MSIL. In fact, should have gone this route a couple of years back as by now, with BS6 coming in, the adoption and popularity of the technology would have been high", said, Avik Chattopadhyay, founder of brand consultancy Expereal.
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Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), which had earlier announced that it will phase out diesel-driven versions of its select models from April 1, 2020, is now envisaging offering Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) variant as an alternative when the BS-VI emission norms come into force. The GDI technology, though running on petrol, will be able to generate a higher power output without compromising on fuel efficiency (the primary reason people prefer to gravitate to diesel-driven cars). It is widely believed that the high cost of upgrading existing diesel engines to the BS-VI norms propelled the company to take such a decision. At present, the country’s largest carmaker is already offering this technology in only Baleno RS variant, which is equipped with a 1L DiTC engine.
The official spokesperson of Maruti Suzuki, when contacted by BW Businessworld, maintained, “The primary reason for us to announce the discontinuation of our diesel vehicles is the extremely high cost of upgrading current BS4 diesel vehicles to BS6 compliant vehicles (by April 2020). The cost increase is expected to be in the range of over Rs. 1 lakh”. When queried specifically on GDI, the spokesperson maintained, “We have already introduced two of the popular high-volume models Alto and Baleno with the new BS-VI compliant variants. Progressively other petrol models in our range will be upgraded to BS-VI”.
“GDI is a sensible way forward by MSIL. In fact, should have gone this route a couple of years back as by now, with BS6 coming in, the adoption and popularity of the technology would have been high. It takes a Maruti to bring in higher and quicker adoption; even though a Ford might have introduced the EcoBoost (technology) a few years back (AMT being a good example) Maruti took time as Suzuki did not have their own technology, but now with Toyota (the famed D4 engine series) being the tech 'big brother' the powerplant is available as part of the partnership in India”, revealed, Avik Chattopadhyay, founder of brand consultancy Expereal.
Deepesh Rathore, Co-founder and Director at Emerging Market Automotive Advisory, maintained, “Petrol engines have to be upgraded and GDI is one of the leading techs in the area. Other manufacturers have already moved to such technology including VW group with its TSI petrol engines and Ford with its EcoBoost. Though it is not a replacement for compact diesel engines, it just makes gasoline engines more powerful and extracts a lot of power from a comparatively small engine. GDI is a tech that improves the performance of petrol, improves fuel economy and lowers emissions. When petrol becomes the only technology (at least for some OEMs) they would like to make their petrol engines better than the competitors. So GDI would be the way to go (in India)”.
“Maruti wants to work more in this area. The positives are surely lesser weight, greater power output without compromising on fuel efficiency. The drawbacks could be the price increase (unless large numbers ensure no / minimal increase) and the fact that the engines are sensitive enough to malfunction when adulterated fuel is used. So, will work very well in BS6 cities but will have hiccups in BS-IV operating conditions”, Chattopadhyay further maintained.