Toyota pulls Innova diesel from Indian market due to likely emission issue

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) made a public announcement on August 30 that it had stopped taking new orders for the Innova engineI under the pretext of a situation of “very high demand” for the diesel version of the Innova. However, the reality is that TKM might be in an even tougher spot.

Professional coach has learned from reliable sources that the Innova diesel has failed the latest round of Conformity of Production (COP) testing for emissions conducted by the International Center for Automotive Technology (ICAT), for its diesel engine variants.

Sources tell us that not one or two, but the 32 sample cars that an OEM can submit from its mass production batches to testing agencies, failed to meet BS VI emission requirements during the COP tests carried out a few weeks ago. . A stream of Innovas coming regularly to ICAT was seen.

COP tests are carried out by government appointed testing and validation agencies like ICAT and ARAI (Automotive Research Association of India) every six months on all models on the market to ensure that even after initial homologation, the Mass-produced models continue to consistently adhere to emission regulations. If the COP test is not successful, the manufacturer is asked to immediately stop production of the offending model.

Professional coach contacted TKM and specifically asked if production of the Innova diesel had stopped. Atul Sood, Associate Vice President, Sales and Strategic Marketing, TKM, replied in an email response: “We continue to produce the Innova Crysta at our factory in Bidadi, Karnataka”, but he did not elaborate. if production of the diesel-powered Crysta had stopped. Crysta gasoline continues to be produced, and in fact the company has just launched the Innova Crysta Limited Edition, based on GX gasoline.

TKM also reiterated its position that reservations for Innova diesel have been temporarily suspended. “Due to very high demand, which has resulted in an increased waiting period for the diesel variant of Innova Crysta, TKM has decided to temporarily stop taking orders for the diesel variant. a customer-centric company, we strive to supply the vehicles to customers who have already made reservations with our dealerships, however, we will continue to take orders for the petrol variant of Innova Crysta,” the press release said. of the society.

However, sources within the supplier industry and dealership community suggest that production of the Innova diesel has effectively ceased. “Toyota told us that diesel production has been stopped but is expected to restart in March 2023,” a key Toyota supplier said on condition of anonymity. It also suggests that the existing Innova will continue alongside the all-new Innova (code 560B), which will be powered by petrol and petrol hybrid (no diesel) options and is expected by the end of this year. The Innova diesel is a bread-and-butter model for Toyota and also a breadwinner for fleet owners and so it’s unlikely to be phased out anytime soon.

Toyota has stopped taking reservations for diesel variants of the Innova Crysta. On August 30, he released a statement citing “a very high demand pattern, which has resulted in an increased waiting period.”

While TKM remains tight-lipped about the overall situation, the series of events over the past few weeks has sparked speculation in the market, especially among pending and potential customers as well as its own reseller partners who are now very worried. .

A dealer representative, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he had been unofficially informed by the company that production of the Crysta diesel had stopped, the reason being the average fuel efficiency standards of companies (CAFE-2) that have justified a change. mixed away from diesels. But with diesel engines offering far greater fuel efficiency than their petrol counterparts, this rationale seems to defy logic and dealers are unhappy with TKM’s lack of a proper explanation.

Dealer sources further revealed that existing stock may only last a month longer and most showrooms expect to run out of Crysta diesel stock well ahead of the holiday season, suggesting to again that production has stopped. However, the company is likely to honor all reservations for the diesel variants received until early August within the stipulated delivery times. However, customers who were able to book one anytime later last month will see deliveries pushed back, possibly into the next calendar year. Customers are also being offered a full refund of their reservation amount due to the likely unavailability of diesel cars, and many are also being pressured by dealers to opt for petrol variants.

The reasons for the supposed COP test failure are unclear, but experts suggest it could be due to the failure of some components. “An ethical company like Toyota would never do anything deliberate to dodge emissions. This issue appears to be more of a component failure or a manufacturing deviation that caused emissions to rise above the limits,” said an industry veteran.

While TKM told us verbally that any reports of the Innova diesel failing the COP test were “false,” in an official email response the company was less adamant. When asked a pointed question asking whether the Innova diesel faced an emissions problem in the last COP test, the answer was evasive “All Toyota models, including the Innova Crysta, continue to meet all regulatory requirements in a consistent manner.” And these regulatory requirements also mean the cessation of production of any model that does not pass the COP test!

The full facts behind TKM’s abrupt decision to pull the Innova diesel from the market just before the festive season may not be known, but what is certain is that it couldn’t have come to a worse. time for the business.

What is a COP test?
The COP or Conformity of Production test is a periodic test carried out every six months by the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) located in Pune or ICAT in Manesar at regular intervals. During this test, the vehicle must comply, with regard to the components affecting the emission of gaseous and particulate pollutants by the engine, the crankcase emissions and the emissions by evaporation, with the type of vehicle approved.

In this test, vehicles are randomly selected from the series and are tested for several parameters. A batch of three vehicles is summoned by the testing agencies to carry out the testing procedures, and even if a particular batch fails to meet the standards, the manufacturer can immediately send another batch of three cars for retesting, until to a maximum of 32 vehicles. from running mass production batches. In the event of repeated failure, the builders have a period of time to present their explanations to the authorities.

While COP testing protocols in India are exactly the same as in Europe, the difference is in the self-regulation practiced by OEMs overseas, compared to testing by external agencies in India.

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