The Supreme Court’s order on banning registration of diesel cars and SUVs with engine capacity over 2000cc will surely inflict players like Mahindra and Toyota which draw their sales from heavy-engined utility vehicles.
The degrading air quality in New Delhi and adjoining NCR cities are costing diesel vehicles above 2000cc as they are not allowed to be sold and the ban issued by Supreme court is making Toyota’s Indian unit and its other counterparts to figure out something new. Yes, Toyota India is exploring all set of options to bring in the petrol versions of its popular MPV Innova and SUV Fortuner. The company did sell a petrol Innova earlier but due to the low demand of the 2.0-litre VVT-i motor, Toyota pulled the plug. The company does sell the Fortuner with petrol engines in global markets.
Industry experts in Delhi say, about 4,00,000 units of diesel vehicles with 2.0-litre or heavier engines are sold in the country annually and of these 5-8% are sold in the NCR. Ever since the ban, inquiries in Delhi have dropped vastly and NCR accounts to 14% of Toyota’s total share. Toyota is not the only one to react to counteract by exploring petrol versions to their models. Post the ban, Mahindra is facing a severe hit because it only has diesel SUVs. Several of its models, including the Scorpio, Bolero and XUV500, are powered by engines of more than 2.0-litres capacity, they cannot be sold in Delhi until 31st March, 2016.
Last month, Mahindra said it will focus on developing petrol engines for its existing portfolio of vehicles. The KUV100, which will be launched this month, will get a new petrol engine, a first for Mahindra in a long time (the first generation Scorpio was sold with a Renault sourced petrol engine called REV116). The petrol engine powering the Scorpio will be a turbocharged 2.2-litre unit producing 156 bhp at 4500 rpm and torque at 280 Nm. The XUV500 is also set to get an all new petrol engine.
Currently, both the Innova with its 2494cc diesel engine and Fortuner with 2494cc and 2982cc diesel engines, don’t comply with the Delhi ruling. With the huge setback, Delhi and the adjoining NCR can actually go for the Renault Lodgy as it can indefinitely be the next option available till the Supreme Court bails Toyota. The Lodgy which is only offered with a diesel engine, employing a 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder motor, which is offered in two states of tunes – 85 PS/200 Nm and 110 PS/245 Nm.