India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki is facing a problem of plenty. With petrol and diesel prices continuing to be high, even after the November 4 excise duty cut, demand for Maruti’s CNG-fueled cars has skyrocketed.
However, the company, like other carmakers in India, is battling a demand-supply mismatch as a result of the continuing semiconductor shortage which has impacted its ability to cater to the accelerating customer demand for its models, particularly those powered by the much cheaper CNG.
Maruti Suzuki is currently sitting at an order book of 280,000 cars, out of which over 120,000 bookings, or 43 percent of all pending orders, are for its CNG-powered models.
Huge demand for Ertiga and Wagon R CNG
As per the company, the seven-seater Ertiga CNG commands the highest share of 50 percent or over 60,000 units, of the total CNG cars in the waiting.
Next up is the immensely popular city runabout – Wagon R CNG – that follows close behind with a 30 percent share or 36,000 orders in hand for its CNG versions yet to be delivered to customers.
The balance 20 percent comprises other Maruti Suzuki models that are offered with a CNG bi-fuel option. These cars include the Alto, S-Presso, and Eeco available for private customers, as well as the Super Carry, Tour S and Tour M for the fleet segment.
CNG sales up 56% in year to date
As per industry data, CNG car sales in India have registered smart growth of 56 percent between April-November 2021 with a total of 136,357 PVs being sold (April-November 2020: 87,634). While cars with 88,180 units registered 45% growth, they accounted for 65% of total PV sales. UVs with 32,444 units saw a 90% YoY increase and accounted for 24% of the share while vans with 15,733 units (up 64%) made up the rest.
The much-improved performance of all three sub-segments is amply seen in the growing CNG market share in the PV segment: cars to 9.87%, UVs to 3.50% and vans to 24%. Overall, the CNG share in the PV market has grown to 7.50% from 6% a year ago.
The big gainers in the CNG PV market are Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Of the 11 CNG models on sale in India, seven Maruti models – Alto, S-Presso, Celerio, Wagon R, Dzire, Ertiga and Eeco – account for 110,459 units or 81% of the total 136,357 units sold in the first 8 months of FY2022. Maruti Suzuki had notched 45% YoY growth (April-November 2020: 76,377 units).
Maruti guns for 250,000 CNG sales in FY2022
In the entire 12-month period of FY2021, MSIL clocked 157,954 units in sales of its CNG models, and has set a target of achieving 250,000 units by end-FY2022.
According to Shashank Srivastava, Director, Sales, Marketing and Service, "CNG has risen as a viable clean fuel alternative and is gaining a lot of momentum in the mainstream market. The key reasons for this are 'affordability and availability'."
Recognising this potential, India's largest carmaker is firming up plans to expand its CNG portfolio. "Customers have given us the feedback to offer CNG in the Vitara Brezza and Swift, and there's huge demand for CNG in the Baleno and Ciaz as well. We are examining the situation and will decide which models to offer CNG with," Srivastava told Autocar Professional in an earlier interview.
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