Home-grown utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra plans to develop petrol variants of its XUV500 and Scorpio SUVs in order to work around the Supreme Court's ban on registrations of new diesel vehicles powered by over 2,000cc engines in Delhi-NCR.
Revealing the automaker’s plans at the unveiling of the KUV100 in Mumbai today, Dr Pawan Goenka, executive director of Mahindra & Mahindra, said that the petrol variants will be available in the medium to long term, and not in the course of next few months. He added that the process of creating a petrol line for the company’s other products is already underway as well.
Dr Goenka said that the company would also evaluate customer feedback on the decision as well. M&M already sells the petrol version of the Scorpio with a 2.2-litre engine in some export markets, but did not launch the product in India due to negligible demand in India. Apart from this, the company is also studying options of downsizing the 2000cc-plus engines to 2000cc or less.
Speaking about the short-term impact of the verdict, Dr Goenka said that M&M dealers currently have an inventory of more than 1,000 vehicles in NCR and the automaker is currently working on shifting them to sell them in other parts of the country.
The automaker is also working on converting some bookings of the XUV500 and Scorpio to the 1.5-litre TUV300 and the recently announced KUV100 (which will be launched with 1.2-litre diesel and petrol engines), he added.
While terming the pollution issue as a "serious one" which demands immediate measures to be undertaken, he emphasised that all problems should not be attributed to diesel vehicles and the media should not make it an "emotive issue" as it will lead to wrong conclusions.
Expressing faith in the judiciary, Dr Goenka said that the company will abide by all the decisions but also hoped that the industry will get a fair chance to express their views. The Supreme Court will be hearing the case on diesel vehicles on January 5, 2016. He also stressed on the fact that the IIT Kanpur report on pollution levels in Delhi, which was commissioned by the government of Delhi, should be released soon so that the industry may get a chance to read, understand and make recommendations on it.
Dr Goenka also suggested implementation of bio-diesel fuels as a lesser polluting option to be used by manufacturers and said that M&M is “capable of producing biodiesel vehicles from tomorrow.” He also batted for electric vehicles, highlighting their “zero-emission” characteristics and said that the government would give more incentives to automakers for manufacturing EVs in the country.
Also read: 'Banning diesel vehicles in Delhi a harsh move,' says Dr Pawan Goenka