BS6 Diesel Woes: Hyundai vs Kia

How Kia and Hyundai are putting out disparate statements regarding BS6 compliance of their diesel engines

 Kia and Hyundai have been in the spotlight since the past few days thanks to the launch of the Seltos and the Grand i10 Nios. But this time around, we have some interesting details to share about these sister brands and their plans post BS6 implementation. In a nutshell, Kia says that all of their BS6-compliant engines including the1.5-litre diesel have been extensively tested to run on BS4 fuel while Hyundai states that BS6 diesel engines will face some issues running on the BS4 fuel. And we analyze why both brands belonging to the same parent company, using the same R&D and even sharing the same set of engines are coming up with disparate statements. 

So, to start things off, Kia is  to Hyundai is what Skoda is to Volkswagen. Both are owned by the same parent company - Hyundai Motor Corporation - and is subject to extensive part sharing and badge engineering. While Hyundai has been around for the last two decades, Kia is flagging off its operations in India with the Seltos which comes with three BS6-compliant engines including a 1.5-litre diesel engine. Hyundai, meanwhile, has announced that it will pull the plug on the 1.4 and 1.6-litre CRDi diesel engines making the switch to the above mentioned 1.5-litre BS6 engine from Kia and updating the existing 1.2-litre diesel.

Now, this is where the similarities end. Hyundai is saying that there will be some issues with running BS4 fuel on BS6-compliant engines, while Kia says that it will work with no issues and they have tested it thoroughly. What Hyundai says is understandable as BS6 fuel contains 5 times fewer sulphur traces than BS4 fuel, helping in cutting down Nitrous Oxide emissions by up to 70 per cent. Now, sulphur in diesel cars acts as a lubricant for the fuel injectors and so it's not rocket science to figure that low sulphur will cause some issues over the long run, especially to the injector. 

Manufacturers definitely have a tough task at hand to make the engines comply with BS6 norms. And to top it off, the Supreme Court of India has stated that no BS4 vehicles will be sold after April 2020. Apart from the higher costs of upgrading diesel engines, another major challenge is the lack of readily available BS6 fuel for testing purposes. As of now, BS6 fuel is only available in some places at Delhi-NCR. 

Hyundai is all set to use the 1.5-litre BS6 diesel engine that will power cars like the Elite i20, Venue, Verna, and the upcoming 2020 Creta. Deliveries of the Seltos, which will be using the BS4 fuel available in most cities across India, have already begun. That is more than an assurance if you ask us, but then, why is Hyundai stating that BS6 engines will face some issues if run on BS4 fuel? 

The result of all this will be a confused end customer and this coming from the two brands owned by the same parent company doesn't help either. And to add to that, with various  manufacturers introducing BS6-compliant engines, customers are still not clear as to whether one can use BS4 fuel in BS6 cars and vice versa. What this points out is the fierce competition  between the two brands, despite being owned by the same parent organization, explaining the contradictory statements. 

And for the big question as to whether a BS6 engine can run perfectly fine with the BS4 fuel. We will find answers for that as time marches forward.

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