BS VI impact: Fiat stops producing 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine

by Akbar Merchant, Autocar India 24 Jan 2020

Pic: Sameer Ajgaonkar

Blame it on BS VI emission norms. Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles India has stopped production of its 1.3-litre diesel engine at its Ranjangaon, Pune plant. The 1.3-litre diesel engine, also known as the 'national engine of India', has powered 24 different cars and SUVs from no less than five carmakers. The engine was marketed as Multijet by Fiat, DDiS by Maruti Suzuki, Smartech by Chevrolet, Quadrajet by Tata, and CRDi4 by Premier that used it in the Rio compact SUV.

The engine's production has been shelved just two months before stringent BS VI emission norms come into effect. Fiat had no plans to upgrade the engine to the new norms because there wasn’t a business case that would justify the move.

The two largest customers for this engine, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors, have adapted different diesel strategies for their India model line-ups. Fiat’s negligible sales didn’t help the case either. In fact, the discontinuation of the Multijet marks the beginning of the end of Fiat in India whose ageing line-up comprises the Linea, and Grande Punto and its derivatives.  

Maruti Suzuki’s reliance on FCA’s 1.3 Multijet declined with the introduction of the in-house developed 1.5-litre diesel engine. The 1.5-litre engine was rolled out on the Ertiga and Ciaz, but the unit will be discontinued soon. The engine is yet to be upgraded to BS VI norms but it could make a comeback in BS VI form at some point. The Swift, Baleno and Dzire, however, are set to continue as petrol-only models.  

In 2016, Tata Motors developed its own range of diesel engines, ranging from 1.05 litre to 1.5 litre, and they were used in the Tiago, Tigor and the Nexon. The company, however, continued to use the 1.3-litre diesel engine on the Bolt hatchback and the Zest compact sedan in small numbers.

FCA has issued a release on the development that said, "Our JV manufacturing facility FIAPL today produced the last BS4 1.3-litre Multijet engine. This dependable, legendary turbo-diesel Fiat engine has, over the years, powered many popular vehicles in India. With the BS6 emission regulation norms being implemented, production has now been discontinued as we are actively moving into the manufacturing of BS6 powertrains. FIAPL produced a total of 800,050 of these dependable1.3-litre turbo-diesel engines in the lifecycle. We remain fully committed to our customers and have a robust plan ensuring spare parts availability for the life of any Fiat vehicle equipped with this workhorse. Parts will available at all FCA- authorised workshops for the next 10 years."