Encouraged by the successful introduction of automated manual transmission (AMT) technology in the mass small car market with Celerio, Maruti Suzuki India is now preparing for the next technological leap — turbocharged petrol engines.
While AMT focussed on improving the driving experience in cities by eliminating gear shifts, small displacement turbocharged petrol engines will sharply increase fuel economy and lower emissions.
The Direct Injection Turbo Charger (DiCT) technology will first be offered with the upcoming 'YRA (code)' premium hatch starting end-2015, industry sources told FE. With an expected fuel economy of over 20 kmpl, the YRA will get a 1 litre 'K10C' turbo-charged petrol engine that will deliver power of 90 BHP. Traditionally, a similar power output is available from larger petrol engines — 1.2 litre to 1.5 litre.
“As part of Maruti's plan to follow global trends of downsizing, there is a huge focus on turbocharged petrol engines for upcoming models. With requirements on fuel economy and emissions only getting stricter, the company feels this is the only way forward. Downsizing gives higher power output while improving mileage as well,” an industry source said, adding that the pace of development of the new technology has increased after more than half the 30,000-unit booking for Celerio in the first month came from AMT variants.
Maruti did not respond to an emailed questionnaire.
Yet, to be given an official brand name, the YRA is a critical model for Maruti's product strategy over the next 3-4 years, both because it is an all new model for Suzuki's global portfolio and India is expected to be the lead market for it.
At home, it is likely to be positioned as a more premium hatchback above Maruti's bestseller Swift, while the model will also re-start Maruti's exports to Europe starting end-2015.
Carmarket leader Maruti, which has over 40% share of India's 27 lakh unit passenger vehicle market, may not be the first to explore the turbocharged petrol engine technology but it has surely taken the lead in introducing this in the mass car segment, hoping it will gain a first mover advantage.
Recently, Ford introduced the EcoSport with a 1-litre Ecoboost turbocharged petrol engine. Volkswagen also offers the Polo TSi and more premium vehicles like the Passat, powered by the same technology. Fiat offers the technology in the Linea T-Jet, while Tata Motors is expected to launch its own Revotron 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol engine with new models Zest and Bolt.
Maruti, whose volumes in April-February FY14 are up 0.88% to 9.51 lakh units, saw its scrip at the BSE close 0.72% up to R1,885.60 on Monday.