The crackdown on diesel cars may be a relatively recent phenomenon, but it seems to be a reflection of a popular trend. According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the sales of diesel cars have dropped by 50 per cent in four years. The numbers reveal that diesel models accounted for 26 per cent of the total car sales in May this year, compared to 52 per cent back in 2012.
Diesel engines gained popularity in India as they offer better fuel economy than their petrol counterparts. However, on an average, they cost around Rs 1 lakh more than an equivalent petrol variant. The premium commanded was balanced out by the lower price of diesel itself, but over the years, the gap between the prices of petrol and diesel has narrowed down. As per a report by ET Auto, the Government’s decision to de-control fuel prices has seen the difference between the two fuels drop from Rs 27.2 in July 2012 to around Rs 10 today, after the latest price revision.
The restrictions levied on diesel cars by certain state governments has also seen their popularity drop. This, in part, has resulted in dealer stocks of diesel cars building up, forcing many retailers to clear the backlog by offering heavy discounts. It’s not just limited to models with engines displacing 2000cc and above, even small car buyers are veering away from the ‘devil’s fuel’. For example, around 70-80 per cent of the bookings received for the Tata Tiago were for the petrol variants.
In all likelihood, this trend will continue into the near future, motivating brands such asToyota and Mahindra to offer petrol variants of the Innova Crysta and the Mahindra XUV500/Scorpio respectively.