Tarun Garg, COO of Hyundai in India, said the company has had good success with diesel variants and would not like to lose that competitive edge, considering that its biggest rival Maruti Suzuki has completely moved out of the category and others such as the Volkswagen group brands (Skoda, VW, and Audi) have also followed suit.
“As we see it, demand remains strong for our diesels. Consider this: if the waiting period on our petrol models is around four weeks, that on diesels is 10-12 weeks,” Garg said, adding that they are offering diesel engines for larger SUVs. “In Creta, 42% of total sales come through diesel, 66% for Alcazar, 61% for Tucson, and 21% for Venue. We will continue to have diesel in our portfolio and launch more cars.”
Garg said there are a variety of factors which still aid the sale of diesels for large off-roaders (Hyundai’s Exter mini SUV only comes with a petrol engine). “There are buyers who drive large SUVs for long distances with diesels as their fuel efficiency is better by around 30% compared to a petrol variant. Also, diesels give them a strong initial torque, and they are also seen as more effective when off-roading.” For Hyundai, the share of diesel is 20%, which is down from 26% last year but continues to hold steady at this level.
Garg also said that demand for diesels continues to remain strong in certain states, which shows that there is no widespread withdrawal.