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Signs of Recovery Still Elusive

THE INDIAN AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN WITNESSING A slowdown for the last six months and hardly any signs of a recovery are in sight. With the Bharat Stage VI norms coming into force in April 2020, things are only
going to get tougher.

Last month I was in Utah, USA, for the first drive of the Mercedes GLS. I got an opportunity to speak to the Mercedes-Benz powertrain head. I asked him if it was going to be the end of the road for diesel powertrains. His answer was just the opposite. According to him, diesel engines are 25 per cent more fuel-efficient as compared to their petrol counterparts. In fact, the new Euro 6D versions are cleaner and emit less CO2. He said that diesel plug-in hybrids could be the solution for the interim future.

The all-new Mercedes GLS is a big improvement on the old SUV and especially its active suspension makes a big difference to the ride quality. The road conditions in the US are very good, so it is very difficult to analyse the ride quality, but it was the off-road course where the ride quality was exceptional even in the rear seats. Normally, you get rocked around from side to side in the rear, but there was no such discomfort in the GLS.

With Bharat Stage VI around the corner, a number of existing engines will get phased out, for it will not be possible to upgrade them to meet the BS-VI norms. Most manufacturers are ready for the new norms. Now it is up to the government and the oil companies to provide the fuel and not just in the metropolises but also in the rural areas.

EDITOR – ASPI BHATHENA

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