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Maruti to phase out smaller diesel cars by April 1, 2020

File Photo. Photograph:( DNA )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 25, 2019, 03.52 PM (IST)

The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said on Thursday that it will phase out smaller diesel cars from its portfolio with effect from April 1, 2020.

The cars are set to get costlier with the upcoming BS-VI emission norms from April next year.

"March 31, 2020 is the last date to sell and register a BS-IV vehicle. From April 1, 2020, the company will not sell any diesel vehicle apart from 1500 cc engine. Any diesel engines below 1500 cc will not make any economic sense once BS-VI norms kick in," the company said in a statement.

The auto major currently sells various cars with diesel powertrains, including S-Cross, Ciaz, Vitara Brezza, Dzire, Baleno, and Swift. While the bigger cars are likely to continue, the carmaker is expected to pull the plug on small diesel cars in its portfolio.

MSI's recently launched refreshed Baleno is the only car which falls under sub-1500 cc category.

"We will not make diesel cars which we feel the customers will not be able to afford. It all depends on the customer, what his judgement is, what the customer will buy or not buy," MSI Chairman R C Bhargava said.

Bhargava said smaller diesel cars would become expensive and thus out of reach for entry-level customers. He added that the small car market would move towards petrol and compressed natural gas (CNG).

Adverse foreign exchange rates and commodity prices pulled down Maruti Suzuki's net profit during the fourth quarter ended March 31 by 4.6 per cent to Rs 1,796 crore in the year-on period. Total sales slipped by 0.7 per cent at 458,479 vehicles.

Currently MSI's market share hovers around 51 per cent in the domestic passenger vehicle segment.

The company currently gets nearly 30 per cent of its annual sales from diesel cars. In 2018-19, MSI sold a total of 17,53,700 units in the domestic market.

The Bharat Stage VI (BS-VI) emission norms would come into force from April 1, 2020, across the country. The shift would impact diesel cars more in terms of prices with industry experts expecting the prices of such models to go up by about Rs 2 lakh.

(With inputs from agencies)