Hyundai Motor India, the closest competitor to India's leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki is planning to launch its entire range of diesel engines in India. The South Korea based carmaker had earlier announced plans to launch a diesel engine plant in India which would build engines for its existing and upcoming models.
The Hyundai i10 is carmaker's best selling model in India and a diesel variant will be an instant hit. There have been reports about a diesel i10 but Hyundai has so far not confirmed or denied it. Hyundai already sells a diesel variant of the i10 in Europe and the hatchback is powered by a 1.1-litre 3-cylinder CRDi engine. The diesel i10 delivers an impressive mileage of 23kmpl and also emits less emissions.
Another small car that could get a diesel engine is Hyundai's entry level small car - Eon. The Eon is currently available with petrol and LPG engines. The possibility of the eon getting a diesel engine cannot be discounted considering the huge demand for diesel cars in India. A i10 diesel or an Eon diesel will pose the strongest possible challenge to Maruti Suzuki which is currently struggling to sell its petrol powered small cars.
Hyundai's diesel engine plant is expected to be built next to its car plant in Chennai. Hyundai has not yet made concrete plans to build the plant yet as it is waiting for a clear government policy on diesel cars. With an oil ministry proposal to impose huge taxes on diesel cars, Hyundai believes its investment in to the diesel engine plant will go to waste if demand for diesel cars come down due to the taxes.
Hyundai currently imports its diesel engines from Korea for the i20, Verna and Santa Fe. Hyundai's diesel engine plant will help reduce the price of its diesel cars but the carmaker is not sure whether it can go ahead with the project. If it does eventually build a diesel engine plant, Hyundai will definitely be in a position to launch the i10's diesel variant.
The i10 faces competition from other small cars such as the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, A-Star, and Chevrolet Spark. The Chevrolet Beat is the only small car with a diesel engine in India and i10 could grab some of its market share if it gets a diesel engine. Hyundai's diesel cars in India are the i20, Verna, Santa Fe and Sonata.