Maruti Suzuki Nexa cars to become more fuel-efficient with CNG

It’s no surprise that Maruti Suzuki is one carmaker that is bullish on the strategy of offering CNG-powered cars for India. And why not. The largest carmaker in India has the most expansive lineup of CNG cars in India and has an undisputable leadership in this category. Maruti Suzuki is now looking to expand its lineup of CNG models by introducing more variants of its premium offerings under the NEXA brand.

Maruti Suzuki Nexa cars to become more fuel-efficient with CNG

In a recent conversation with Autocar, Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director of Sales and Marketing, Maruti Suzuki, indicated that the company is studying the feasibility of CNG variants of the models from NEXA outlets like Ignis, Baleno and Ciaz. Srivastava is also confident that introducing CNG variants in the NEXA models will not reduce the aspirational quotient of more premium NEXA cars.

Competitors bringing in top-end loaded variants

Maruti Suzuki had the first-mover advantage of offering factory-fitted CNG cars in India. However, most of these CNG variants were based on the base-spec variants of the existing models. The lack of features in these base variants reduced the desirability quotient of these models.

Also, in recent times, Maruti Suzuki has faced stiff competition from its chief rivals like Hyundai and Tata Motors, which are offering CNG variants based on better-equipped mid-spec and top-of-the-line variants of their existing cars. This strategy by rival carmakers is attracting those aware buyers who want the efficiency of a CNG car without compromising on features.

No diesel engine options

Maruti Suzuki’s decision of introducing CNG variants for NEXA models is good news to boost the sales of its premium models, which have declined in the last couple of years due to the discontinuation of diesel-powered variants from the lineup. Currently, Maruti Suzuki is garnering 15 per cent of its total sales from the CNG-powered variants, which will only rise in the coming times.

Maruti Suzuki Nexa cars to become more fuel-efficient with CNG

For the models which are also available with CNG variants, Maruti Suzuki is reporting 30 per cent of the volume from the CNG variants for those models. The current lineup of CNG-powered models from Maruti Suzuki includes Alto, S-Presso, Wagon R, Celerio, Dzire, Eeco and Ertiga, with all of them available through the ARENA chain of outlets. In the last fiscal, Maruti Suzuki sold 1,57,954 units of CNG-powered cars while witnessing a 48 per cent year-on-year growth.

The main reason behind many small car buyers shifting towards CNG-powered cars is the low running costs. While the current rate of CNG per kg is almost 40 per cent lower than a litre of petrol, the fuel efficiency of a CNG-powered car is around 30-35 per cent more than that of its petrol-powered counterpart.