Tata Motors expands CNG car portfolio to premium Altroz hatchback, opens bookings

Premium Altroz hatchback becomes third Tata Motors car after Tiago and Tigor to get the CNG treatment; dual-cylinder setup enables two 30-litre tanks positioned under boot floor to free up storage space

By Ajit Dalvi calendar 19 Apr 2023 Views icon15766 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Three months after Tata Motors revealed the Altroz CNG, the compressed natural gas-powered variant of its premium hatchback at Auto Expo 2023, the company today announced opening of bookings for the eco-friendly car for a token amount of Rs 21,000. Deliveries are slated to commence in May 2023.

In terms of looks, there’s no exterior change to the Altroz CNG other than the ‘iCNG’ badge on the tailgate. Importantly, the Altroz CNG gets the new dual-cylinder setup, which splits the CNG cylinders into 30-litre tanks each, with both being positioned under the boot floor to free up storage space.

The Altroz CNG is powered by a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox. In petrol mode, this powertrain develops 86hp and 113Nm of torque and, in CNG mode, 77hp and 97Nm. Unlike its rivals, the Altroz can also start directly in CNG mode just like the Tiago and Tigor CNG.

Like the upcoming Punch CNG, Altroz CNG gets the new dual-cylinder setup, which splits the CNG cylinders into 30-litre tanks each, both  positioned under the boot floor to free up storage space.

The Altroz CNG is on offer with four trim levels – XE, XM+, XZ and XZ+ -- with the top-spec XZ+ getting features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a digital driver's display, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a voice-activated sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, an engine start/stop button, automatic climate control, height adjustable driver’s seat, leatherette seats, rear AC vents and a front centre armrest.

The Altroz CNG also gets safety features like six airbags, ABS with EBD and stability control. In January 2020, the standard Altroz had scored a five-star Global NCAP rating based on the old crash testing protocols.

The Altroz CNG, which is expected to cost around Rs 90,000 more than its petrol-engined variant (Rs 645,000 to Rs 910,000), will compete against the Maruti Baleno CNG and the Toyota Glanza CNG in the domestic market.

Bullish on CNG car demand

Tata Motors, which had entered the CNG market in FY2022 with the Tiago and the Tigor, will be looking to make strong gains with the Altroz CNG and also the Punch CNG (when it is launched). In FY2023, the carmaker retailed 40,323 units, which a 471% YoY increase albeit on a low-year-ago base (FY2022: 7,059). In FY2023, Tata sold an estimated 59,004 Altroz hatchbacks, which marks strong 30% YoY growth. Last fiscal was also when Tata Motors clocked its best-ever passenger vehicle sales of 538,640 units (up 45% YoY), which means the Altroz accounted for 11% of total wholesales.

What is creditable is that despite its recent entry into the CNG market, Tata Motors has already grabbed 13% of India’s CNG car market. 

The recent CNG price cut of Rs 8 per kg (in Mumbai) and similar levels across the country will serve to accelerate demand for CNG-powered cars. Tata Motors clearly is banking on some of that demand entering the premium hatchback segment with the Altroz CNG.

With inputs from Akhil Dalvi, Autocar India

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