We have caught the Tata Safari Storme with a new 1.99-litre diesel engine being tested on the Manali-Leh highway. The engineers from Tata Motors had also taken along a Mahindra XUV500 1.99. Clearly, the company is leaving nothing to chance and is benchmarking the Safari Storme 1.99l against its direct competitor. Our sources in the company have revealed that this new Tata Motors 1.99-litre diesel engine will also be offered in the Hexa MPV. We had previously revealed that the Tata Hexa launch was deferred indefinitely owing to the 2.0-litre and above diesel engine ban in the Delhi-NCR.
The temporary ban on the registration of cars and SUVs powered by diesel engines with cubic capacity of 2.0 litres or above in the Delhi-NCR had created a lot of flutter amongst automobile manufactures. The temporary ban was first imposed in December last year, and the Supreme Court kept on extending the deadline. On August 13, 2016, the apex body lifted the ban and it was huge relief for carmakers like Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Mahindra and Tata Motors.
To counter this ban some manufacturers had started working on downsizing their diesel engines. With Scorpio and XUV500 1.99l, Mahindra was the first to launch a sub-2.0-litre diesel engine. In April this year, Tata Motors had announced that it too was downsizing its diesel engines to tackle the temporary ban.
Although the Supreme Court has lifted the ban on registration of diesel vehicles in the Delhi-NCR, there is still a lot of uncertainty. It is not clear if the apex body will impose the ban once again at a later date. Currently, all manufacturers selling diesel vehicles with 2.0-litre and higher capacity engines will pay a one per cent environmental cess for selling these cars. It is not clear for how long this cess will have to be paid, too.