Maruti Suzuki on Wednesday informed it had sold 1.57 lakh vehicles with factory-fitted CNG kits in FY 2020-21, its highest ever. The figure was nearly double of what Maruti had sold in 2016-17 and significantly higher than even in 2019-20.
(Also read: Maruti Suzuki CNG cars contribute over 10% of the brand's total sales)
Maruti Suzuki has been betting big on what it terms as S-CNG as a viable alternative to petrol and diesel cars. The option of having a CNG kit added to a petrol vehicle means one can drive the vehicle in either of the two fuel modes. The advantage that CNG has is that the running cost is significantly lower than what would be incurred from a petrol-only or diesel model, apart from being environment-friendly.
At present, Maruti Suzuki offers company-fitted CNG kits in Alto, Celerio, Wagon-R, S-Presso, Eeco, Ertiga, Tour S and Super Carry LCV. These kits are at an additional cost over and above the price of the vehicle.
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With more and more cities in the country welcoming CNG filling stations, and the price of petrol and diesel at record levels, the popularity of CNG vehicles is on the rise and this may well be what is powering Maruti's dominance. "CNG is becoming one of the most preferred alternative fuels due to its economic cost of running," said Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director - Marketing and Sales - at Maruti Suzuki India Limited. "With the Government’s clear focus on expansion of CNG outlets in the country, we are confident of greater acceptance of factory-fitted CNG vehicles, even in challenging times."
There are still some concerns among a section of car buyers when it comes to a vehicle with CNG kit. These mostly relate to the performance of such a vehicle while on the move as well as safety-related queries. Improvement in technology, however, has meant that CNG cars now offer more performance than ever in the past while Maruti claims stringent checks and evaluation processes ensure factors such as corrosion and short circuit are negated while the crash-worthiness of the kit itself is assured.