Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) in the Indian auto market have been predominantly diesel powered vehicles. A major reason for this is that SUVs are traditionally gas guzzling vehicles and to improve their mileage, diesel engines are fitted. In addition to this, since these vehicles are large, it is easy to incorporate diesel engines, which are also big in size. But it is a little difficult to ascertain whether a petrol-powered SUV will be successful in the Indian market.
Companies such as Renault and Mahindra & Mahindra manufacture compact SUVs for the Indian market, which are available in both petrol as well as diesel options. However, the sale of diesel versions of both vehicles is much higher than their petrol versions. Till the time petrol prices remain as high as they are, it is quite difficult for a petrol-powered SUV to make a mark in the Indian market.
American manufacturer Ford has planned to launch its new compact SUV, the EcoSport, by June 2013. This has been fitted with the 1.0 litre EcoBoost petrol engine, which develops class-leading power output of 120 bhp and very low levels of CO2 emission. With such a high power output, it is equal to some expensive SUVs as well, such as Mahindra Scorpio which produces 120 bhp of power through a 2.2 litre mHawk diesel engine. Due to its design and engine performance, Ford EcoSport is certain to win the hearts of many Indian buyers.
On similar lines, Honda Cars India Limited has also decided to reveal a new compact SUV based on Jazz, to be launched in the year 2014. Though the design of this vehicle is quite revolutionary, it will still be classified as a compact SUV. Honda has always been known to create very fuel efficient vehicles and it is possible that the new SUV may set a benchmark, in terms of engine capacity and refinement. Ultimately, it depends on how a product is positioned in the Indian auto market, to determine its success. If a petrol SUV such as the EcoSport offers great mileage, along with space, there is no reason why vehicles such as the above mentioned ones cannot be successful in the country.