Kochi: The National Green Tribunal’s ban on diesel vehicles registered more than 10 years ago and the difference in petrol and diesel price coming down to Rs 7 have hit the sales of diesel-powered cars in the state.
Petrol variants have now recorded about 85% of the total vehicle sales in the state. Across India, petrol cars formed 75% of the total vehicle sales.
Till two-three years ago, 70% of vehicle sales were of diesel variants, though they cost at least Rs 1 lakh more than their petrol counterparts.
The low cost of the fuel and additional mileage of diesel cars made them popular among the buyers.
Though the government had relinquished its control over fuel prices, and diesel costing more, diesel cars remained popular.
But the picture changed with the NGT order imposing curbs on diesel vehicles. Though there is a stay on the NGT order in Kerala, the concern of buyers remained unaddressed.
Vehicle dealers said those who decided to buy diesel variants are now opting for petrol cars. The April-June quarter of the current financial year posted a hike in the sale of petrol vehicles over the year-ago period.
Petrol models of hatchbacks and sedans for personal use are witnessing in a spike in sales. Transporters, however, are still opting for diesel models, besides those who prefer SUVs.
This segment of buyers, seldom use the same vehicle for more than 10 years.
The nation’s number one vehicle manufacturer Maruti Suzuki witnessed a 75% sale of its petrol-variant Baleno, while petrol-powered Ritz, Swift and Ciaz formed 70% of sales.
The same is the case with Hyundai’s Grand i10 and Xcent, whose petrol variants made 89-85% of the sales pie. Ford Figo (petrol) formed 60% of the sales.
Earlier, diesel variants had led the car market.
Honda, which recently introduced diesel models, is now facing the challenge of 70% of the buyers preferring petrol models.
Dealers are now providing various offers to hike the sales of diesel cars. They are also hopeful that the NGT’s next sitting in the state, scheduled for July 29, would take a relook at its earlier order banning diesel vehicles registered more than 10 years ago - an order made without considering the distance the vehicle had covered or defining the rate of vehicular pollution.
Car manufacturers, however, are hoping that the NGTs order would help them market more petrol models.