Tata Motors had announced its plans to introduce a diesel version of the Nano but its plans have not yet seen the light of the day. On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki seems to have bagged the opportunity and announced that it will be launching a new model fitted with a diesel engine and that this new model will be included in the money-spinning mini/micro car segment.
Suzuki has already developed the 2 cylinder, 800-cc diesel Powertrain according to several sources in the automobile industry. In the year 2014, Maruti will launch the global small car which is now code-named as YL7. This mini car from Maruti Suzuki will be the first one to feature Suzuki’s self-developed 800 cc diesel engine. This could mean that the Zen Estilo as well as the A-Star could be replaced by the YL7, which will be known as the cheapest and also the smallest car in India which comes with a diesel engine option.
Currently, the demand for cars in the Indian market is at an all-time-low and Maruti Suzuki wants to unlock increase in its car sales volumes which may well be the reason why it is launching the small car in the entry-level segment. India’s passenger car market comprises of around 2.7 million buyers and mini cars constitute a staggering 21% of the total market in India. However, the segment was yet to see a diesel model. The YL7 thus will be the first diesel car in this segment.
A reliable source for the YL7 development commented that Maruti Suzuki is on fast-track progress with the work on the diesel engine for the small car advancing at a good speed. The source added that the YL7’s petrol will be first launched during the Auto Expo and the diesel variant’s production will only commence during the later part of this year. Maruti Suzuki will export the YL7 to several international markets from India. In some countries, it will sell the YL7 as the new Alto.
Media reports have also hinted towards the fact that engineers at Maruti Suzuki are involved in the development of the 800cc diesel engine at the parent plant in Suzuki Japan. The new diesel engine is likely to churn peak power of 40 bhp while the fuel economy is stated to be around 30 kmpl. If this is true, then the engine will be the first in India to deliver this fuel efficiency in the diesel vehicle segment.
Tata is also testing Nano Diesel which will be fitted with a 800 cc turbocharged, 2 cylinder engine. There are rumors that the Nano Diesel will deliver a mileage of an astounding 40 kmpl.
While the Nano Diesel was expected to be launched in early 2013, the small engine E2 from Suzuki is likely to take some more time for the development as the engineers are presently working at it. It is expected that E2 will be completely developed in another 2 years time for the Indian roads.
This means that Maruti Suzuki will not be launching the mini diesel car fitted with E2 800cc diesel engine anytime before 2014 and will likely launch by early 2015. The Maruti Suzuki Alto 800 model will likely be getting the 800cc diesel engine apart from A-Star.