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Old 23rd September 2014, 13:36   #1
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Default Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

With the deregulation of Diesel and ever decreasing margin between petrol and diesel prices, Petrol cars are fast finding favour among the car buying populace.

The Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio were both introduced in the market with a petrol engine option, but they soon lost ground to their diesel powered siblings.

Only Renault has a petrol option in the sub 10Lakh rupee segment with it's Duster and Honda's CRV being another option in the segment above 20Lakh rupee.

Isn't it time the manufacturers look at introducing petrol option for the SUV segment.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 13:45   #2
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

I don't think so. Basically suvs are intended to be used for heavy duty purposes. So you need more torque at lower rpm. Secondly, diesel are still inexpensive and will always be cheaper than petrol by say Rs.10 or so and diesel will always give more mileage than the petrol counterpart. Even at current scenario would you buy a petrol suv that gives 5-6kmpl and your yearly run is more than 12-15000kms?
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Old 23rd September 2014, 14:06   #3
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

True SUVs being heavier, I think diesel will be the preferred fuel for them.
Maybe though, we could see compact SUVs with more petrol options in the coming months and years.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 14:21   #4
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Interesting thought. Don't think it's possible for petrol SUV's to make a comeback for reasons already mentioned above, but what could be a possibility is some niche segment grabbing more than the expected numbers thanks to this reduced difference. For instance, sales of EcoSport for both petrol engines might see a jump.

Would be interesting to know from fellow BHPians how the petrol SUV's fare in regions where the price difference is not there?
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Old 23rd September 2014, 14:37   #5
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Petrol SUVs can make a comeback specially smaller ones with different usage pattern as they have 2 distinct advantages over diesel SUVs -
1> Maintenance cost of petrol vehicle is less
2> No starting problem in high altitude areas
So in places where high torque is not a requirement but peace of mind and ultra reliability matters, petrol SUVs should sell in good numbers.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 14:41   #6
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Definitely, there is a scope for Petrol SUVs. Case to refer: Gypsy! The average monthly sales figures of Gypsy is around 200. It sold 833 in August. I guess this is a sign of the increased demand for Petrol SUVs.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 14:45   #7
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by avisidhu View Post
but what could be a possibility is some niche segment grabbing more than the expected numbers thanks to this reduced difference. For instance, sales of EcoSport for both petrol engines might see a jump.
Good point - if its not heavy duty load pulling/mud mucking, then yes, petrols can start emerging as a viable alternative. Especially in the <10L segment, people would be glad to go back to the cheaper (to buy, not run) and hassle-free nature of petrols.

Quote:
Originally Posted by romeomidhun View Post
Definitely, there is a scope for Petrol SUVs. Case to refer: Gypsy! The average monthly sales figures of Gypsy is around 200. It sold 833 in August.
Unlikely that demonstrates the comeback of petrol SUVs, because:
a) The Gypsy is not seem on roads all that much
b) Its probably a bulk order from the Army (the Gypsy's #1 user)
c) The numbers are too small to draw meaningful conclusions
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Old 23rd September 2014, 14:55   #8
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arunphilip View Post
Unlikely that demonstrates the comeback of petrol SUVs, because:
a) The Gypsy is not seem on roads all that much
b) Its probably a bulk order from the Army (the Gypsy's #1 user)
c) The numbers are too small to draw meaningful conclusions
a) People who bought Gypsy may have bought it not to run, but just to showcase (as you mentioned)! Also, a monthly sale of 200 in a total sale of 2 lakh cars will definitely be negligible and untraceable!
b) As per my understanding, Army has stopped buying Gypsies.
c) Yes, let's wait for some more months to get a clear idea.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 15:16   #9
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Not very likely except the smallest (sub 4m) ones. The dynamics in this segment will be different.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 15:40   #10
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpainter View Post
I don't think so. Basically suvs are intended to be used for heavy duty purposes. So you need more torque at lower rpm. Secondly, diesel are still inexpensive and will always be cheaper than petrol by say Rs.10 or so and diesel will always give more mileage than the petrol counterpart. Even at current scenario would you buy a petrol suv that gives 5-6kmpl and your yearly run is more than 12-15000kms?
SUVs are mainly bought by city dwellers for highway travel.
So the way I see it: its used as an overgrown car. And that's why Duster and Ecosport are such a success.

Though you may be right about the running costs, since these vehicles are used on highways, they may clock more km compared to a sedan on an average and thus the buyer would be more inclined to diesel version.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 16:11   #11
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpainter View Post
I don't think so. Basically suvs are intended to be used for heavy duty purposes. So you need more torque at lower rpm. Secondly, diesel are still inexpensive and will always be cheaper than petrol by say Rs.10 or so and diesel will always give more mileage than the petrol counterpart. Even at current scenario would you buy a petrol suv that gives 5-6kmpl and your yearly run is more than 12-15000kms?
The total cost of ownership over a 4-5 year period needs to be considered. If you cannot recover the premium paid (upfront) for a diesel in 4-5 yrs, why would you buy a diesel?

5-6kmpl seems very less. I heard even the CRV also gives 7-8kmpl.
If i am not wrong, the Ecosport petrol returns around 10-11 & the 1 Litre one gives 13.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 16:23   #12
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by romeomidhun View Post
a) People who bought Gypsy may have bought it not to run, but just to showcase (as you mentioned)! Also, a monthly sale of 200 in a total sale of 2 lakh cars will definitely be negligible and untraceable!
b) As per my understanding, Army has stopped buying Gypsies.
c) Yes, let's wait for some more months to get a clear idea.
Hi romeomidhun, arunphilip,
That's not true. Army is still buying Gypsies.
Gypsy orders are waiting for production since August.
Reason being a huge army order for about 5000 Gypsies.
Maruti has a production plan till the year end to fulfill this.
Gypsies are being produced and Army is using them.
But you are right, private buyers are a very small number.
Cheers,
Deepak

Last edited by starter : 23rd September 2014 at 16:40.
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Old 23rd September 2014, 17:09   #13
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

I don't think so. Because

1) Diesels have more low end torque which small petrol engines can just dream about.

2) Fuel economy matters a lot. I remember my friends first gen CRV returing 3KMPL !! With 5 people on board in a hilly road in Trivandrum and also my fellow Doctor who has a ecosport with ecoboost engine that gives 8 to 10 KMPL.

3) As about maintenance I don't think modern diesels has this ' so called ' maintenance issue. I dont have an SUV but sure we have 3 diesel sedans an accent (1,36,000 km), Fluence (35,000 km) and an amaze (13,000 km) and nothing much as service costs has burned our pockets till now. Even to the fact that the previous service of my Amaze cost me just 1600 INR. An SUV with a modern diesel engine will be similar as well.

4) As far as I am concerned, I buy a car for atleast 4yrs of use ( 60-80k KM) and if its a petrol SUV which delivers a mere 6 to 7 KMPL thats surely a financial burden to me.

5) For refinement, well whats the fun of having an SUV with a mute engine? A bit of engine note is always welcome . Though this is not the fact for big block v8 petrols . If i live in KSA or Qatar or Abu dabi buying a big block V8 makes sense buying such monsters but in own country thats absolute madness.

Last edited by GTO : 24th September 2014 at 13:13. Reason: Typos
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Old 23rd September 2014, 17:23   #14
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Since the discussion came around Maruti Gypsy and its use by Indian Army, here is some more information

According to public news sources, Army will initiate the Phasing out of Maruti Gypsy by 2017.

The Army has a requirement of around 30,000 new light utility 4X4 vehicles which would be completed in phased manner in next 15-20 years. The project is estimated at 3000 crore. TATA , Mahindra and Nissan had submitted the bid for same while Maruti didn't participate. Currently there are more than 25,000 vehicles in service in India Army.

More information can be found on links below
Economic Times - http://articles.economictimes.indiat...hindra-scorpio
Live Mint - http://www.livemint.com/Industry/lvT...the-Gypsy.html
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Old 23rd September 2014, 17:31   #15
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Default Re: Petrol SUVs: Can they make a comeback?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
Not very likely except the smallest (sub 4m) ones. The dynamics in this segment will be different.
I would agree with Sgiitk Sir, we could see few crossovers and sub four meter cars in petrol in near future however, for true SUV's petrol engine wont make much sense.
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