CNG models account for 32% of Maruti Suzuki’s 380,000 units order backlog
At 121,000 units, CNG variants account for a third of the carmaker’s massive pending orders at end-FY2023; Ertiga CNG with 68,000 units is the one with the biggest backlog; MSIL’s CNG share grows to 19% from 16% in FY2022.
Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL), which has pending orders of 380,000 units as of end-March 2023, says CNG-equipped variants form 121,000 units or 32% of its total order backlog at the end of FY2023.
The popular Ertiga MPV, offered with both petrol as well as CNG fuel options, is the one which accounts for the highest – nearly 68,000 units or 56% of pending CNG model orders. “The overall production numbers for the Ertiga have been a constraint and the CNG backlog in other models might not be as high,” Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer, MSIL, told journalists in a media call on April 1.
While supply chain challenges are the major factors impacting production at OEMs, the semiconductor shortage continues to remain a key impediment. According to Srivastava, MSIL lost out on production of around 46,000 units in Q3 FY2023 due to the lack of chips, and was also impacted in Q4 FY2023. "We do foresee production to remain impacted due to the chip shortage in the next few quarters as well," he said.
"In some of the models, there is continued pressure on the production and availability largely because of the semiconductor issue. We expect the problem to persist in the near future, and it remains difficult to predict when it will be fully resolved," added Srivastava.
At the end 0f FY2023, Maruti Suzuki, which clocked cumulative sales of a million CNG vehicles in May 2022, had 14 factory-fitted CNG models.
The company, which introduced CNG in the S-Presso, Brezza, Grand Vitara, Swift, Dzire, Baleno and XL6 in FY2023 (April 2022-March 2023), now offers the factory-fitted CNG option in a total of 12 cars in its portfolio, the largest for any carmaker in India.
The company witnessed a reduction in demand for CNG cars, due to the rising prices of the fuel – CNG saw 8 price hikes in CY2022 – and its narrowing gap with petrol. “There has been a decline in demand for CNG cars, particularly since June 2022, when the price gap between petrol and CNG started narrowing significantly. However, we had introduced six new models with CNG in FY2023, and that compensated for our overall numbers. The new launches led to our CNG penetration increasing from 15.5% in FY2022 to 19% in FY2023,” said Srivastava.
However, despite the CNG price increases and in the face of fast-depleting diesel-engined cars in the Indian market, buyers clocking plenty of kilometres are increasingly opting for the greener CNG, which is also inherently more efficient than petrol. According to Srivastava, “For the overall industry, the share of CNG-equipped cars now stands at 10.5%, compared to 8.3% a year ago.”
Overall though, Maruti Suzuki India continues to remain bullish about the potential of CNG-powered passenger vehicles in India, which is witnessing a rapid shift away from diesels, a transition to electric vehicles, and is also strengthening the CNG infrastructure across the country. At present, there are an estimated 1,332 CNG stations and plans are to substantially increase the existing parc of 4,500 CNG stations to 8,000 in the next two years.
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