There’s increased demand for CNG cars due to rising fuel prices and easy availability of CNG fuel stations
Envisioning the future can pay rich dividends several years down the line. A perfect case study would be Maruti Suzuki CNG cars that started being rolled out in 2010. WagonR was the first Maruti car to get factory-fitted CNG option.
Over the years, several other Maruti cars received the CNG option. As of now, nine out of 15 Maruti cars offer CNG option. Maruti has a market share of more than 85% in the CNG segment. Success of CNG cars has prompted other carmakers like Hyundai and Tata Motors to expand their CNG portfolio.
1.29 lakh CNG car orders pending
By the end of April 2022, Maruti had a total of 3.25 lakh car buyers awaiting delivery. Out of this, CNG car orders are at 1,29,000 units. This is more than 40% of the total orders pending with the company. Elaborating on the numbers, Shashank Srivastava, senior ED, Marketing & Sales, MSIL said that out of their total sales, 17% are CNG models. Among cars that have a CNG option, CNG models contribute 33% of the sales.
In FY22, Maruti CNG cars registered sales of 2,64,000 units. This is YoY growth of around 44 percent, as compared to FY21. A significant percentage of Maruti CNG sales come from WagonR and Ertiga. Other cars offered with CNG option include Alto, Celerio, S-Presso, Dzire and Eeco. For fleet operators, there’s Tour M and Tour H3.
To boost sales further, Maruti has plans to introduce CNG option with some of its Nexa cars as well. It includes cars like Baleno and Ciaz. Due to significant rise in fuel prices and no relief in sight, even premium segment customers have started to feel the pinch.
Looking at past sales data, it becomes evident that Maruti CNG sales have increased consistently in recent years. They appear to be linked to the rising fuel prices. From 76,000 units in FY18, the numbers moved to 1,05,000 units in FY19. Things were a little slow in FY20 at 1,06,000 units, but the number grew again in FY21 at 1,16,000 units.
CNG prices are also rising
While CNG sales are booming, rise in CNG prices has led to new worries for users. Just like crude oil, a significant percentage of CNG is also imported in India. It’s apparent that any increase in global prices will reflect at local fuel stations.
With the Russia-Ukraine conflict, fuel prices including CNG have increased consistently. Just last year, CNG prices were around Rs 53 per kg in the national capital. It is now retailing at around Rs 71 per kg, an increase of nearly 35%. In Mumbai, CNG is retailing at around Rs 76/kg.
But despite the hike in CNG prices, it continues to be cheaper than petrol and diesel. At current rates, the running cost of a CNG vehicle is around Rs 1.90 per km. In comparison, the running cost of a similar capacity petrol/diesel vehicle is approximately Rs 5.20 per km. As users continue to benefit, demand for CNG cars is unlikely to drop anytime soon.