The national diesel engine, the 1.3 Litre SDE MJD was put to rest yesterday when the last of its breed was rolled out from the factory in Ranjangaon, Pune. Produced by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), this engine changed the face of Indian diesel cars and it was highly successful because of its reliability and ease of maintenance. The BS4 compliant engine was a favorite with both Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki. But when both these manufacturers decided to stop the production of Diesel variants for the greater good, FCA had no other option left other than ceasing the production of this engine.
The last engine unit christened as #810829 was rolled out of the factory on 23rd January 2020. The total production of these engines was 9,60,719 which according to Sameer Ajgaonkar, a worker in the factory, directly or indirectly supported millions of Indian lives.
The reason it became India’s favorite diesel engine was because it was efficient, reliable and tailor-made for Indian road conditions. Donning under the hoods of nearly 20 Indian cars including some of the best-sellers such as Maruti Suzuki Swift, Dzire, Brezza, Baleno, SX4, Fiat Punto, Linea, and Tata Bolt, this engine was the choice of 5 different manufacturers for their diesel cars.
Divided into 5 categories, this engine was the International engine of the year in 2005 under the 1-Litre and 1.4-Litre category. The 75Ps version which was used in the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ritz, Chevy Beat and Tata Indica Vista, which tells a lot about the character of this engine.
A few tweaks and turns were needed to produce an ample amount of power-to-weight ratio according to each of these models like timing system, turbocharger, camshafts etc.
The 1.3 Litre production might have ended but it will still live on in lakhs of Maruti Swifts as it was one among the most sold hatchback in 2019 in the used car market according to our data.