The raging debate over gas guzzling taxes being imposed on big cars and sports utility vehicles got a new twist today with Mahindra and Mahindra, the country's largest producer of utility vehicles, declaring that their vehicles are as fuel efficient as any of the small cars.
The company on Tuesday launched a micro hybrid variant of its flagship Scorpio and Bolero, claiming a 5 per cent improvement in their fuel efficiency than the standard models. At an additional cost of Rs 3,800, these variants are a precursor to the fully hybrid ones that are under development in the company's R&D centres and are still two years away from getting launched.
The big vehicles and diesel engines are often condemned as gas guzzlers and taxed accordingly but i can challenge that most of the small cars in the country would not be able to better the fuel efficiency that a micro hybrid Scorpio would give," said Dr Pawan Goenka, President automotive sector, M&M.
Goenka's challenge threw petroleum minister Murli Deora off guard. Deora's ministry is considering a proposal for dual pricing policy for diesel which could mean the price of the fuel for big cars and SUVs, go up by 25 per cent.
"There has been a recommendation made to that effect, but I can assure you that it will not come into reality so soon," Deora said.
The auto industry in the past has always pointed out the lack of rationale in taxing bigger cars more on the pretext of their being gas guzzlers and Goenka was quick to point that out.
"It is a misconception that a big car is fuel inefficient today, as technology has advanced and a Scorpio is maybe as frugal as any small car. The pretext for such taxatiion policies is misplaced," he added.
While the micro hybrid technology has been launched in only two variants of the cars, it will soon be extended on other variants. The company's newer products like the MUV Ingenio will also have variants providing this technology at the time of launch.