As India upgrades to Bharat Stage 6 (BS6) emission norms, most manufacturers have shunned smaller diesel engines citing unfavourable costs. For diesel engines to meet BS6 norms, either the Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) or Lean NOx Trap (LNT) method is used.
The latter is the affordable solution that many manufacturers are banking on. This is what Hyundai has done with the 1.2-litre diesel engine in the Grand i10 Nios, Aura and i20 Elite, making it the only BS6 diesel engine in its class.
There is a reason why Maruti and others have not chosen the LNT method – the emissions produced are dangerously close to limits with chances of spiking at times. LNT is also susceptible to sulfur poisoning though India will be moving to low-sulfur diesel from April 1.
While Maruti has discontinued the 1.3-litre Fiat sourced diesel engine, it is currently banking on petrol and CNG models only. This will be an interesting case for the commercial market where diesel is still preferred. Hyundai says 30-40 per cent of its compact sedan sales are diesel.
Maruti has had a majority 60 per cent of all 1.8 lakh fleet cars sold in 2019. There’s however another player in the sub compact sedan space that has upgraded to BS6 diesel – Honda Amaze. Will Hyundai take over the taxi market, or will the cab market be content with petrol-CNG options?