It appears that the dominant position that diesel, traditionally significantly cheaper to purchase than petrol, is being steadily eroded. This is happening, most dramatically, in the luxury segment where Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW et al have always strong diesel engines in their line-ups. But a move towards cleaner fuels, current environmental factors like the NCR diesel ban and more are all forcing car makers to reconsider how to play the Indian luxury market game.
Audi currently sells 70 per cent diesels and only 30 per cent petrols. This is already a big change - the company only sold 10 per cent of their products with petrol engines as recently as two years ago. The NCR diesel ban pushed the split to 50-50 in that market but it turns out, other places in India are not immune to that trend either.
Rahil Ansari says that the focus is moving towards petrol vehicles because of various factors like the Delhi diesel ban and a shift towards cleaner fuels
Brand director, Rahil Ansari, Audi India, told Business Insider on the sidelines of the Audi Q7 40 TFSI Quattro launch, "By 2020, we wish to have an equal 50 per cent diesel and 50 per cent alternative fuel [portfolio]. This will have petrol at the minimum and hopefully at some stage, an Environmental Vehicle also."
Ansari also noted a change in the Southern Indian markets, traditionally very focused on diesel, that suddenly put a shine on the petrol models. One in five Audi cars sold, in Mumbai, further, are also petrol-powered now.