The dilemma of whether to continue with small diesel engines or not is haunting all automobile manufacturers operating in the Indian market. Japanese carmaker Toyota, which operates in India in partnership with Kirloskar under the name of Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM), has decided to do away with a 1.4-liter diesel engine in its model lineup. This is contrary to the initial remarks made by the vice-chairman of the company, Shekar Viswanathan about the Toyota seeing potential in the diesel segment and continues to invest in oil-burner technology in the future.
Infact, now the decision to axe out Etios and Etios Liva entirely is also a surprise. Keeping petrol and CNG cars is not viable either for Toyota India is going to take a hit on their cars resale and helping its rival such as Hyundai who plans to keep the Xcent running in the fleet market. The move to discontinue these cars can affect resale for its customers, something they banked on while buying the car.
The obvious reason behind this u-turn is the cost economics which puts the smaller diesel out of the market reach. The 1.4-liter diesel of the company which is currently doing the duty under the hood of diesel variant of Corolla Altis, Platinum Etios, Etios cross, and Etios Liva will be no longer available after April 1, 2020, when the stringent BS6 emission norms will come into effect.
The cost of upgradation of 1.4-liter diesel from its current BS4 avatar to BS6 version is quite high and the resulting price will simply be out of reach of most of the customers. Therefore, it makes little sense for Toyota to upgrade its 1.4-liter diesel to BS6 though initial indications were completely opposite.
That said, Toyota will upgrade its high capacity diesel engine which is powering the likes of Innova Crysta and Fortuner SUV. Both these high-end vehicles will get BS6 diesel engines in time though the upgradation is expected to push the price-envelop further. Just so you know, Innova Crysta is powered by a 2.4-liter and a 2.8-liter diesel engine while the Fortuner derives the motive force from a 2.8-liter diesel. These models are star-performers in the Toyota range and generate a chunk of the sale and more importantly, higher profit margins for the organization.