Common rail direct injection (CRDi) technology is gaining popularity in India as manufacturers rework their engine offerings to meet the Euro III emission rules that take effect from April 1, 2005.

Based on the potential growth in demand for these systems, various projects are in the pipeline.

TVS group and Delphi have announced a joint venture to manufacture CRDI engines in a new facility near Chennai, investing INR5 billion (€91 million) in the 50-50 JV, called Delphi TVS Diesel Systems Ltd, over the next five years. The plant will deliver its first 1,800 bar CRDI engine later this year.

MICO Bosch is currently the only other manufacturer of CRDI systems in India. The company has pledged INR5.5 billion (€100million) towards domestic manufacture of CRDI engines and, in February, delivered its first India-made CRDI system for the recently launched Mahindra Scorpio model.

In 2004, India's largest car maker, Maruti, announced plans to set up a 100,000-unit INR3.5 billion (€63.6million) diesel engine plant to manufacture Fiat's Multi-jet diesel engines from 2006.

Last year, Powertrain Ltd (the engine and gearbox-making arm of MG Rover) signed an agreement to supply India's Sonalika Group with a range of components for its CRDi production programme. Additionally, Sonalika has been licensed to build a Powertrain diesel engine for the Indian market.

With various CRDI projects coming on line here, many manufacturers such as Mahindra are switching to the technology while companies like Maruti will also introduce diesel-powered variants of their model lines. Hyundai and DaimlerChrysler have so far imported their CRDI engines but are expected to source locally once the technology catches on.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup