If there’s one company that can lay claim to producing the maximum number of CNG-powered vehicles in India, it is Maruti Suzuki. Over the past several years, the subcontinent’s largest automaker has churned out CNG versions of almost all its models. Of course, certain premium models from the brand’s lineup don’t come in their respective CNG avatars, but that is to be expected. While this wasn’t all that important when petrol prices were cheaper, these days, that really isn’t the case. As the cost of petrol keeps soaring, more and more buyers would fall for the idea of a CNG-powered car.
If FY2020-21 was any proof of the CNG pudding, then the numbers are there for everyone to see. During this period, Maruti Suzuki sold 1.57 lakh factory-fitted CNG cars in India – the highest-ever in the brand’s history. As of now, there are CNG versions of several Maruti Suzuki cars in the market. This includes hatchbacks such as the Alto, Celerio, and WagonR – all of which are very popular amongst buyers. Then there is the S-Presso, which is also available in a CNG avatar. Maruti Suzuki also sells CNG versions of the Ertiga MPV and the Dzire Tour S, whilst similar versions are available for the Eeco van and the Super Carry for commercial operators.
Speaking about the tremendous success of the company’s CNG vehicles was Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Marketing & Sales), Maruti Suzuki India Limited. He said,
“We see CNG as a technology that has set a new benchmark in green fuel mobility. Maruti Suzuki offers its customers the widest options of factory-fitted CNG-powered cars. At the same time, CNG is becoming one of the most preferred alternative fuels due to its economic cost of running (as compared with the high prices of petrol and diesel) and improved CNG filling infrastructure. With the Government’s clear focus on the expansion of CNG outlets in the country, we are confident of greater acceptance of factory-fitted CNG vehicles, even in challenging times.”
According to Maruti Suzuki, its factory-fitted CNG vehicles offer more performance, more safety, and more convenience than comparable after-market solutions. On much of these fronts, Maruti Suzuki is right on the money. If you do want a CNG-powered vehicle, it is always a good idea to check if the OEM provides it from the factory. This is because the operation of a CNG vehicle revolves heavily around the tank that stores the gas, the system that channels the gas to the engine, and the safety mechanisms in between that prevent mishaps from occurring. If you were to go with a cheap and cheerful aftermarket CNG kit, you cannot be guaranteed the functioning of many of these safety systems. Therefore, the factory-fitted CNG kits from Maruti Suzuki assure far better safety plus an actual warranty to go with it.
Maruti Suzuki is certain that it will be able to promote cleaner and greener cars through its CNG models. With more and more CNG stations coming up in India, more and more buyers would be interested in CNG-powered vehicles in the near future. However, do note that CNG-powered cars tend to be less powerful than their petrol-only counterparts. No matter what Maruti Suzuki might say, this is a fact. Because CNG operates very differently as compared to petrol inside the engine and has to work with the same materials and pressure limits, CNG can’t offer the same performance. Of course, there is a lot more science and technicalities behind this, but CNG-fueled engines usually always have a reduction in horsepower and torque. Still, it is pretty impressive to see what Maruti Suzuki has been able to achieve with its factory-fitted CNG vehicles. In terms of sales, at least.
Editor’s Choice – Top 5 Best Selling SUVs In India In March 2021