The entry-level diesel small car from Maruti Suzuki is the Ritz. In terms of sales numbers it is certainly not a failure, but not segment dominating like the Alto, Swift and the Dzire. The numbers are similar to that of the Ford Figo and the Hyundai i10, wherein latter is available only with petrol mill.
For a company that dominates every other segment in the sub-four meter vehicles, this is not the most ideal scenario.It might change soon. There are rumours that Maruti might introduce a diesel version of their highly successful entry-level hatchback, the Wagon R.
The Wagon R will compete mainly with the next generation Hyundai i10, which will be launched by the end of 2013. There is also a possibility that the diesel version of the hatchback will be introduced with yet another facelift.
The existing 1.3-litre multijet diesel engine will be little big for the Wagon R and currently they don’t have a smaller diesel engine. However the chairman of Maruti Suzuki, RC Bhargava,had said ‘At the moment, we have a 1.3-litre diesel engine. Fiat is working on 1,000cc engines also. We don’t know the timeline, but surely, we will get these for our smaller cars.’
This 1.0-litre mill will probably be a three-cylinder unit, similar to the Chevrolet Beat diesel, which is also derived from the 1,3-litre multijet that was jointly developed by Fiat and GM.
Without a diesel engine, Wagon R is comfortably selling over 10,000 units every month. A diesel unit can make it the new best-selling model in Maruti’s lineup. If Chevy Beat’s specs are taken as reference, this diesel mill will be around 900cc developing 59bhp and 150Nm of torque.
With the weight of Wagon R, it will certain be fuel efficient, returning nothing less than 20 kilometers per litre. Though there is no official information regarding this model, rumours suggest that it will be launched by mid-2013.
The pricing difference between the petrol and diesel will be a bit high, considering it might be the first car to get this engine. The Wagon R diesel might start at Rs 4.3 lakh, while the top-end version could be around Rs 5.2 lakh.