Toyota to continue diesel models in India, expects demand to continue

A Toyota logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 5, 2019. Photo: Reuters

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is planning to continue to sell diesel models in the country even as prices of such vehicles are expected to go up significantly with the upcoming BS-VI emission norms from April 1 next year, a top company official has said.

"We still see demand for diesel variants, and will continue to manufacture them till we have the future technology setting in," TKM Vice-Chairman Shekar Viswanathan told PTI.

The company has even invested in a plant in India to make diesel engines which is capable of manufacturing diesel BS-VI engines with minimum investment, he added.

This was done keeping in mind the 'Make in India' philosophy, Viswanathan said.

TKM sells popular models such as Innova Crysta and Fortuner in the country and based on its total vehicle sales from January to July 2019, the current diesel-petrol ratio is 82:18.

However, considering only the passenger car segment, the petrol-diesel ratio is close to 50:50.

With diesel cars set to become costlier from next year with the implementation of stricter BS-VI emission norms, major automakers are contemplating about the future of such vehicles in their portfolios.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki India has already announced phasing out of diesel cars from its portfolio with effect from next year.

Similarly, Tata Motors is also contemplating phasing out small diesel cars.

The company, which is a joint venture between the Japanese auto major and Kirloskar group, said it has the technologies in place for various kind of electric vehicles (EV) which it can introduce depending upon the market requirements.

When asked if there is a possibility to see some of the company's global EVs making their way into the Indian market, Viswanathan said Toyota has the core electrification technologies that enable it to develop and introduce various types of electrified vehicles such as hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles.

"However, the speed of market launch differs greatly depending on the country, region, road environment, energy situation and other factors," he added.

The company is closely monitoring customer needs and regulation trends as well as continuing to devote all its efforts to the development of key technologies such as the batteries that power hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles and electrified vehicles, Viswanathan said.

He, however, declined to comment regarding specific product introduction plans for the country.

Viswanathan said the company will keep rooting for hybrid vehicles despite the government favouring only EVs in the country.

"If the government encourages hybrids or self-charging EVs, it would augur well for the pure EV sector given the commonality of parts," he added.

Toyota globally strives to reduce vehicle CO2 emissions by 90 per cent in comparison with 2010 levels by 2050.

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