Fiat's diesel engine technology, which powered the popular diesel passenger vehicles of India in the past, is once again making inroads into the country's autobile market. However, its latest version-2.0 litre TD- is now propelling only a select and premium range of SUVs.
2.0 litre TD technology is derived from the legendary 1.3 turbo diesel technology which was a record breaking diesel powertrain in India. The 1.3 turbo diesel engine powered vehicles of leading brands like Fiat, Maruti Suzuki, GM and Tata Motors in the past.
Different automobile-manufacturers named 1.3 turbo diesel engine differently. Fiat marketed it as ‘Multijet Turbo Diesel Engine' while Tata Motors called it ‘Quadrajet' and Maruti Suzuki termed it ‘DDiS'.
The 1.3 turbo diesel engine featured on models such as Linea, Punto, Indica, Swift, Ertiga, SX4 and Sail amongst others.
However, the engine type had to be discontinued due to regulatory change from BS4 to BS6. Fiat had produced a total of 800,050 of these turbo-diesel engines in India.
Moreover, the attractiveness of diesel was also on a downward trajectory with environment cess on many high powered SUVs coming into effect.
Nevertheless, the boom in the SUV segment which was first triggered via the compact category shifted the tide in favour of diesel engines.
This trend, especially, the rising demand for premium and larger SUVs is more evident due to the high power requirement and fuel efficiency.
Consequently, this segment has cleared the path for Fiat's 2.0 litre TD engine type to become a preferred choice.
At present, the engine powers the likes of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' (now known as Stellantis) Jeep Compass, Tata Harrier and MG Hector.
The current 2.0 TD is a BS6 and upgradable for future regulations.
"The share of diesel power trains has been on a declining trend in India due to price gap between petrol and diesel and increasing cost of BS-VI compliant vehicles," said Shamsher Dewan, Vice President & Sector Head - Corporate Ratings.
"However, diesel engines are still preferred in larger SUVs due to better performance."
Currently, these engines are manufactured by FIAT India Automobiles (FIAPL) at its Ranjangaon, Maharashtra based manufacturing facility.
FIAPL is a joint venture between Tata Motors and FCA (now known as Stellantis).
The company is the sole manufacturer of Tata Motors' compact UV Nexon and FCA's Jeep Compass model.
Presently, the powertrain production capacity in Ranjangaon is more than 350,000.