Maruti Suzuki believes that demand for CNG vehicles will remain strong despite current fuel prices. That’s why.

File photo: An Ertiga CNG waits for its turn at a CNG filling station near Jaipur.

Maruti Suzuki has expanded its model line-up with company-fitted CNG (compressed natural gas) kits to 12 with recent launch It was hurt and XL6, the first Nexa-branded vehicles to receive an alternative fuel option. But while the country’s largest carmaker continues to bet big on CNG technology, most of these models are expected to have a long run due to demand for the Ertiga.

(Also read: Maruti Suzuki Ertiga CNG Drive Full Review)

Updated Ertiga was launched in April and S-CNG technology was added as an option later. Demand for the CNG variant picked up almost immediately, and the wait is now nine months. While strong demand is a shot in the arm for Maruti Suzuki, a shortage of semiconductors means production cannot keep up. “As of today, the outstanding bookings for CNG vehicles are about 1.23 lakh units,” Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, said on Monday, adding that the semiconductor of the CNG controller, along with some other components, related to unavailability, absent. technology has resulted in increased wait times for almost all CNG models offered.

While Srivastava emphasizes that the situation is improving, he also chose to focus on the increased demand for LNG vehicles. “CNG car bookings last year were between 1,300 and 1,400 per day. In the first quarter of this financial year, it rose to about 1,500. The increase in LNG prices saw it come back to 1,300-1,400 again and has remained there ever since.”

But is the narrowing of the price difference between a kilogram of LNG and a liter of petrol a deterrent for potential customers? Srivastava is sure that the current LNG price is temporary. “People are also more knowledgeable now than before. We found that a large number of Nexa customers also want a car with lower emissions,” he explained.

Maruti Suzuki first introduced CNG technology in its models way back in 2010 when the S-CNG was introduced in WagonR and Eeco. Since then, the company has completely abandoned diesel and focused on a strategy of using only gasoline and gasoline-CNG.

Date of first publication: 31 Oct 2022, 19:19 IST

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