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Tata Motors plans to downsize diesel engines to skirt SC ban in Delhi

PTI 06 Apr 2016, 23:50:48 IST
PTI

New Delhi: The country's largest automobile company Tata Motors, which has been badly hit by the Supreme Court ban on selling high-end diesel vehicles in the NCR, is planning to down-size its diesel engines to skirt the issue.

"We are re-engineering our existing engines to bring them below 2-litres," Tata Motors senior vice president for programme planning and project management, at the passenger vehicle unit, Girish Wagh, told reporters here on sidelines of the launch of its much-awaited hatchback Tiago.

Though Wagh did not offer details on the cost and timing or a time-line, he said, "a completely new engine takes almost or more than a year to come, but since this is something more innovative ... this will be done much faster." He, however said the plan is only for Tata Motors vehicles and not for its luxury brands Jaguar Land Rover.

Last December, the apex court had banned sale of 2000-cc and above engine diesel vehicles in Delhi and the NRC region till March 31 which was then extended to April 30 till the court hears all the petitions.

Almost all the models from Tata Motor's British arm JLR had been impacted by the ban, apart from Safari Strom and Arai from the Tata Motors domestic stable.

The ban had diesel-only player Mahindra even entering the petrol segment and lowering its engine capacity and planning to downsize even its top-end models like Scorpio and Bolero. In January the company had launched a 1.99 litre diesel engine.

The ban has hurt other like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and to some models of BMW.

Though Tata Motors is the largest auto company in the country in terms of revenue, its space in the passenger vehicle segment is negligible and its sales just grew a paltry 2% in 2015-16, compared to 11% growth that market leader Maruti notched up.

For nearly the past six years the company has been struggling in the market due to absence of products and supplier issues. Though it launched two new models last fiscal-the Zest and the Bolt and an AMT version of its wonder called the Nano, the company could not meet demand due to supplier issues and troubles at dealerships.

Tata Motors share closed 1.7% up on the BSE.