General Motors India is looking to enhance its range of diesel-driven cars as demand for the variant increases due to the price difference with petrol. The company, which is set to launch the diesel variant of its compact car Beat this month, is keeping its options open to introduce similar variants of other models as well.
“There is always a possibility of extending the diesel option to what customers demand,” General Motors India President and Managing Director Karl Slym said. He was responding to a query on whether the company plans to introduce a diesel variant of its small car Spark.
Asked if the company is also considering the introduction of a diesel option for premium hatchback Aveo UVA and entry level sedan Aveo, he said: “There is always an interest in putting diesel in other segments.” At present, the Aveo UVA is available only in a petrol variant, while the Aveo sedan comes in petrol and CNG.
Customer demand for diesel cars is increasing as the price difference between petrol and diesel fuel, which currently stands at Rs 26 per litre, widens, he said. “We cannot control what the government does to petrol prices. Therefore, we are geared up to meet the demands of the customer,” Slym said.
The company already has the capacity to cater to demand for diesel vehicles, as its engine plant at Talegaon, with an annual capacity of 1.6 lakh units, is capable of meeting the enhanced requirement. “The plant can build engines up to 1.5-litre capacity and it is fully flexible for both petrol and diesel. So capacity is not a constraint for us,” he said.
The company’s latest Beat Diesel model will be powered by a one-litre, three-cylinder engine produced at the plant. “The technology is from GM Europe, but it has been adapted to suit the Indian conditions specifically. It will be only in India that the Beat is available in a diesel option, nowhere else,” Slym said.
While the company may consider exporting the Beat Diesel, he, however, said the priority would be to address the requirements of the Indian market.