This could probably the best news to have surfaced on a Monday morning. Maruti Suzuki is working on a small capacity diesel engine which would be used in the Alto, Estilo (hopefully discontinued by the time this engine arrives), WagonR, A-Star and the next generation Alto. The company is developing this small capacity diesel engine with its parent Suzuki Japan and is targeting a mileage of upto 30 km/l. This small capacity diesel engine will be a 800cc, 2-cylinder unit producing around 40 BHP of power and around 90 Nm of torque. However this engine will only go into production by the end of 2014. Suzuki is already conducting testing and validation of the engine in Japan and the oil burner might reach India late next year for indigenisation.

“The development is at a very initial stage. It is a ground up project, and a lot of effort is being put in. The engine has to deliver the required level of performance, needs to respond ably, deliver on the power as well as fuel efficiency. It will take at least a couple of years or may be more to be ready,” a source with direct knowledge about the project said.

Maruti Suzuki revolutionized the Indian car market with the launch of the 800 way back in 1984. The 800 was powered by a petrol engine that time and diesel cars were not even spoken about. Today the situation is very different and diesel cars account for almost 50% of car sales. Due to the increasing demand of diesel engined vehicles, petrol cars have seen a slight decline and thus Maruti Suzuki wants to bring in a diesel engine to maintain its market share. What is surprising is that the company is not relying on Fiat to bring in the 3-cylinder unit of the Multijet diesel engine. It also remains to be seen if Maruti Suzuki takes design cues from the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, for which they have a license from the Italian automaker.

Maruti Suzuki will soon be launching the Alto 800, which is a replacement for the 800. The company wants to take the war to the Hyundai Eon head-on but one must not forget that the Korean automaker has committed to bring more diesel-engined cars to the country and the Eon might also get a diesel heart. Tata Motors is already testing a diesel-engined Nano so we can expect intense competition in the small diesel car segment in the foreseeable future.

Source – Economic Times