India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, aims to sell over 2.5 lakh compressed natural gas (CNG) cars in the ongoing fiscal year, a top executive told Mobility Outlook.
The company is looking to increase the sales of CNG vehicles by 66.6%, as it sold 1.5 lakh vehicles in FY21. So far, the company has sold over 1.2 lakh vehicles till date.
The sudden rise in sales of CNG vehicles is due to the all-time high price of petrol and diesel. About 80% of buyers who belong to the compact car segment are looking for cheap commuting.
Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Sales & Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, said, “CNG has been doing very well for the last one and a half years. Despite the market not being very strong, demand for CNG has been increasing. In fact for Maruti Suzuki, the number touched 162,000 against the previous year 105,000. So, there was almost a 50-55% jump, and this year, we should be doing about 250,000.”
“This will also be the highest ever sales for CNG vehicles. Out of our 15 brands, eight comes with CNG variants. Out of them Wagon R, S-Presso, and Ertiga are the front runners. We will be launching a CNG version of Celerio this week,” he added.
Industry experts suggest that CNG is the best alternative for cheaper cost of operations and reducing pollution as a budget electric car is still a distant dream coupled with range anxiety and service issues.
Therefore, CNG cars will continue to see momentum in the near future. As a result, more and more carmakers will launch CNG cars to cater to this demand.
One expert said that even if the petrol and diesel prices come down, the cost differential of operating a CNG vehicle and petrol/diesel car will remain wide.
The cost per kilometre of a CNG vehicle is between INR 1.50- INR 1.60, while the petrol vehicle cost per kilometre ranges between INR4 - INR5. The share of CNG passenger vehicles has increased to 7.5% in April-November 2021 from 6% in the same period last year.
What Else is Pushing CNG Vehicle Sales in India?
There has been a rise in new CNG stations in the most recent times. According to the government reports, there were about 1,400 stations across 150 cities, which has now expanded to 250 cities with 4,000 CNG fuel stations.
It is one of the critical enablers that power CNG vehicle sales; this has instilled confidence among CNG vehicle buyers since there is no wait time to fuel up the vehicle like electric cars, which usually take a whole night or 4-6 hours of charging time.
As per Crisil research, by 2025, there will be around 8,500 CNG stations. Moreover, 65 new geographical areas will get CNG stations.