• Maruti Suzuki garners nearly 23% of its annual sales from diesel cars
  • The carmaker also today announced a hike in prices of some of its models

Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest vehicle manufacturer, today announced that it will stop manufacturing diesel vehicles from April 1, 2020 when the new BS 6 emission norms will be introduced. The high cost of upgrading existing diesel engines to the BS 6 norms propelled the company to take such a decision.

The company will try to focus on compressed natural gas (CNG) and hybrid technology driven vehicles to compensate the vacuum created by the phasing-out of diesel vehicles.

Mint was the first to report on Feb 14, 2019 that Maruti was in talks with its parent company Suzuki Motor Corporation for discontinuation of diesel vehicles from 2020.

According to R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, from April next year the company will stop manufacturing diesel vehicles since substantially higher development cost will not make diesel a viable option for consumers.

“We have taken this decision so that in 2022 we are able to meet the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency norms and higher share of CNG vehicles will help us comply with the norms. I hope the union government’s policies will help grow the market for CNG vehicles," added Bhargava.

Apart from that, the company reported a 4.6% year-on-year decline in net profit to 1,795 crore for the quarter ending March 31, 2018 as a result of high commodity and forex costs and increased discounts offered by the company to attract buyers since vehicle sales remain subdued.

The total vehicle sales of the company increased by just 0.4% year-on-year to 4,28,863 units while the net sales or revenue dropped by 0.7% year on year to 20,737.5 crore. The operating margins contracted by 300 basis points due to increase in commodity cost and discounts.

In the full year FY 19, the New Delhi-based company reported 2.9% decease in net profit to 7,500.6 crore while the revenues grew by just 6.3% to 8,3026.5 crore.

According to Ajay Seth, Maruti's executive director, Finance, overall increased discounts offered to customers and commodity costs had an adverse impact on the financials of the company in FY 19 and the company will cut costs in different part of its operations to stabilise the operating margins in FY 2020.

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Hong Kong, Oct 25: Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the latest non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political dissent in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong would close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations moved to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong's national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government, Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said in a statement.

Hong Kong implemented a sweeping national security law in 2020 following months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion to intervene in the city's affairs. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city's democracy movement, have been arrested under the law.

The majority of the city's prominent pro-democracy activists are behind bars for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operations out of concern for their members' personal safety under the security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment, she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.