General Motors India on Monday launched the diesel version of its small car ‘Beat’ in India with a starting price of Rs 4.29 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), thereby heating up the competition in the segment.
The 1.0 litre diesel engine, which has been developed specifically for India by GM’s Technical Centre in Bangalore in collaboration with GM Powertrain Europe, is the company’s smallest diesel engine globally.
The company also said it may consider launching a diesel version of its another small car ‘Spark’ that can be powered by the same engine but with some modifications.
“This is the smallest diesel engine-powered passenger car for GM globally. We do not have any plan to manufacture this engine anywhere in the world,”General Motors India President and Managing Director Karl Slym told reporters.
The company is currently producing about 6,000 units of diesel engines every month at its Talegaon facility in Maharashtra, he added. “We have taken the expertise from Europe, the hub of diesel technology, but at the same time engaged our engineers in India to make sure that we don’t give a completely European engine,” Slym said.
He said GM India plans to export the diesel engine to Europe as well after meeting the demand in India. The company currently sells 2,700-3,000 units of Beat every month and expects to sell 4,000-5,000 units of its diesel variant henceforth, he added. “It (the car market) used to be 30 per cent diesel and 70 per cent petrol. Of course, that has changed, all thanks to the pricing of fuel,” Slym said.
GM India, at present, sells a 1.2-litre petrol version of the Beat in a price range of Rs 3.55 lakh-Rs 4.74 lakh. The LPG option comes for Rs 4.16 lakh-Rs 4.59 lakh. The diesel Beat has been introduced in three versions, with prices ranging between Rs 4.29 lakh and Rs 5.45 lakh. As per ARAI standards, the Beat diesel will give a mileage of 24 kilometres per litre, the company claimed.
The Beat diesel has been pitted against one of the best selling cars in the segment, Maruti Suzuki Swift, which will be launched with a new version next month. The price of the existing 1.3-litre diesel Swift starts at Rs 4.99 lakh. The market leader’s another hatchback Ritz also comes with a 1.3-litre diesel option, which is available with a starting price of Rs 4.86 lakh.
Besides, Beat will also compete with Ford’s Figo, whose 1.4-litre diesel version starts at Rs 4.60 lakh. The 1.3-litre Fiat Punto diesel starts at Rs 5.18 lakh. All the above prices are according to respective websites and ex-showroom, Delhi.