Following Maruti Suzuki, Renault is now the second car manufacturer to stop selling diesel vehicles in India next year. The background is a stricter emissions standard, comparable to the Euro 6 standard in Europe, which will come into force in India on 1 April 2020.
At Renault, the departure from diesel is progressing. “We have decided to limit the development of diesel when Euro VII is introduced,” said Renault CEO Thierry Bolloré at an event in India. In response to a specific question as to whether the carmaker would stop selling diesel vehicles after the local Bharat VI emissions standard came into force, he agreed “Yes, it will”. The new regulatory norms in India are expected to make diesel engines costlier compared to petrol ones and of course, this gives EVs the biggest competitive advantage.
Renault will initially focus on gasoline cars in India from this point and is considering producing electric cars locally from 2022. “Electric cars are part of the medium-term plan for 2022 and the company will focus on local production in India,” says Renault’s CEO. A smart move considering the Indian government started gearing import taxes for domestic EV assembly earlier this year.
The market share of diesel vehicles has fallen steadily in India, most recently to its lowest level for ten years. The country is currently openly discussing a turnaround, and a central government think tank is recommending that the government exclude all non-electric vehicles from registrations beyond 2030. The Indian government is also thinking of banning fossil-fuelled engines completely in the LEV segment, so that only electric tricycles or rickshaws will be permitted from April 2023 and exclusively electric two-wheelers from April 2025.
Bolloré also mentioned the fact that India will be the third largest auto market in the near future, which logically, he sees as a good enough reason for the Renault to keep investing in the country. He expects Renault India to double its vehicle sales by 2022.