p66_graph.jpg (20273 bytes) The ex-showroom
price of a diesel car is higher than that of a petrol car, but the difference is so narrow that it hardly deters the consumer from preferring diesel-run Cheap Diesel vehicles

No. Neither is industry
Its a bad price war out there. Diesel car manufacturers are in rampant competition to make diesel car prices as attractive as possible. The ex-showroom price of a diesel car is higher than that of a petrol car, but the difference is so narrow that it hardly deters the consumer from preferring diesel-run vehicles.

New strategies are redefining the diesel car market. See, for instance, what Skoda India has done. Their entry into the Indian market was unique: contrary to trends, the price of the petrol version and the diesel version was the same. Consider the effect of such a strategy on the consumer, who would now naturally be inclined to go for the latter. Indeed, companies are not chary of even reversing the trend: among Tata Safari’s top end models, the price of the petrol versions are higher than the diesel ones (See timeline: Diesel car models since 1998). Customers, understandably, are spoilt for choice.

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Auto emissions roadmaps: A comparison
(Download pdf)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ALL ABOUT GUZZLING: Fuel trends in Delhi

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Indeed, dieselisation is worsening. Some of the largest carmakers, that had hitherto stayed away from diesel versions, are now preparing to aggressively enter the diesel market. Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) is setting up a diesel engine assembly plant at Gurgaon near Delhi. Diesel cars are about 5 per cent of the total MUL production and MUL currently imports its diesel engines. Hyundai Motor India Ltd is all poised to roll out a diesel version of one of its most popular model, the Santro. The Indian unit of Italy’s Fiat Auto Spa also plans to introduce a new diesel Sedan in April 2004: apparently, the diesel Sedan will be powered by the same 1.9 litre engine that powers its flagship Palio hatchback and the Adventure estate and will be called the Petra.

Diesel car models since 1998 (Years are indicative)
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
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Tata Indica (Costlier by only Rs 16,000 than petrol version)
dot.gif (271 bytes) Maruti Zen
dot.gif (271 bytes) Ford Ikon
dot.gif (271 bytes) Tata Safari (cheaper by
Rs 78,099 than petrol version)
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dot.gif (271 bytes) Ford Mondeo
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dot.gif (271 bytes) Toyota Qualis
dot.gif (271 bytes) Mercedes E 220 cdi
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dot.gif (271 bytes) ctavia Ambiente
(Priced same as the petrol version)
dot.gif (271 bytes) Mahindra
Bolero
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dot.gif (271 bytes) Mercedes C 220 cdi
dot.gif (271 bytes) Hyundai Accent CRDi
dot.gif (271 bytes) Tata Indigo
dot.gif (271 bytes) Maruti Esteem (Costlier
by around Rs 17,000
than petrol version)
dot.gif (271 bytes) Hindustan Motors Pajero
dot.gif (271 bytes) Mahindra Scorpio
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dot.gif (271 bytes) Skoda Octavia Elegace
dot.gif (271 bytes) Fiat Palio
dot.gif (271 bytes) Fiat Adventure
dot.gif (271 bytes) Hyundai Terracan
dot.gif (271 bytes) Ford Endeavour
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dot.gif (271 bytes) Mercedes C 220 cdi

Going by the plans Indian automobile manufacturers are gleefully hatching, the future looks bleakly dieselised. Let us understand that in India, the quality of diesel used is extremely poor. Moreover, the Indian government is not interested in providing cleaner diesel. In such a scenario, the effect more diesel cars on Indian roads are going to have is absolutely disastrous.

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RULING: • July 28, 1998 — Public transport of Delhi should be increased to 10,000 by April 1, 2001.
• Entire city bus fleet should be converted to CNG

OBJECTIVE:
Leapfrog Delhi to far better emissions levels than the dismal Euro 0 standards in force and a feeble promise of Euro II emissions standards in 2005.

HURDLES:
The order was not easy to implement. Resistance from entrenched diesel business and lack of policy support from the government held up its progress. Despite the resistance the Supreme Court finally ruled on April 5, 2002 that orders and directions cannot be altered by any administrative decision of the government and dismissed all objections to the programme. With the Court reaffirming the CNG order a large influx of CNG vehicles followed.

THREE CHEERS FOR CNG:
Despite all odds the expansion of the CNG programme has been impressive.

dot.gif (271 bytes) On December 1, 2002, the entire city bus fleet in Delhi became diesel-free, representing the largest city CNG bus fleet in the world.

dot.gif (271 bytes) There are nearly 10,000 CNG buses, 5,000 minibuses, 47,201 three-wheelers, 5,000 taxis and 10,350 cars on the roads.

dot.gif (271 bytes) An extensive network of CNG refuelling stations – as many as 109 refuelling stations is in place.

dot.gif (271 bytes) CNG sales have increased dramatically from 0.99 lakh kg per day in March 2001 to 7 lakh kg per day in January, 2004.

dot.gif (271 bytes) The most significant aspect is that it has largely targeted the diesel driven vehicles in the city. According to an estimate of a World Bank study on Delhi pollution in 1996, diesel vehicles were responsible for as much as 62.5 percent of the total particulate emissions from the transport sector.
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If dieselisation of the car fleet is now allowed to continue unchecked, Delhi will undo the gains from the CNG programme.
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