As several players in the Indian automobile market are hurrying to launch diesel variants of their cars in the face of rising petrol prices comes the news of Hyundai’s plans to launch a diesel version of the Hyundai i10. The Korean automobile manufacturer already sells the Hyundai i10 with a 1.1-litre diesel engine in Europe, and it is a modified version of this European Hyundai i10 diesel that is being considered for the Indian market. Moving on, our sources have disclosed that the company won’t make Indians wait much, and this highly awaited car might land on Indian shores in the first quarter of 2013 instead of their earlier planned launch in the second half of 2013.
However, the company has not yet revealed the engine specifications, or any other specifications for that matter. But the next generation Hyundai i10, i.e. the diesel variant, is expected to be powered by a 3-cylinder diesel engine, which was unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. This move to offer the Hyundai i10 in diesel comes after the increasing demand for compact hatchbacks that are capable of delivering optimum fuel economy. In the face of the nation’s massive fuel price hike crisis, the sales figures of Hyundai’s petrol vehicles dropped by 15 per cent this year, and consequently, the popularity and demand for diesel-fuelled vehicles has increased phenomenally. The sales of diesel cars make up for about 22 per cent of the total sales of automobiles in India as compared to the 17 per cent last year. The sales share of the diesel variant of the Verna sedan is as big as 85 per cent whereas it is 70 per cent for Hyundai i20.
The 1.1-litre U-II diesel engine is capable of delivering a peak power to the tune of 74bhp, and a maximum torque of 180Nm. This implies that if a similar engine is employed in the Hyundai i10 diesel as well, the car will be able to return a mileage figure that is as exciting as that delivered by its market competitors like Maruti Suzuki Swift diesel, Maruti Suzuki Ritz, Fiat Punto, the recently launched Chevrolet Sail U-VA and a handful of other cars that are powered by the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre MultiJet engine.
There is a possibility that Hyundai might set up a flexible engine-manufacturing plant in the country before launching the Hyundai i10 diesel here. It has been gathered that this facility will be endowed with features that will allow it to build both, petrol and diesel engines. For now, Hyundai imports diesel engines from South Korea, which, consequently, adds up to the cost of its diesel cars. Furthermore, manufacturing diesel engines in India could mean that the prices of Hyundai’s diesel cars and also it spare parts may drop.
Even though the Hyundai i10 diesel’s cost will most definitely add on an extra Rs.50,000-60,000 than the top end petrol variant, the car’s arrival is good news for small car users nonetheless. Reports have it that Hyundai has already began testing the next generation Hyundai i10 hatchback in India, which is expected to be a more stylish version of the original Hyundai i10 and will also have its interiors totally redone.