Maruti Suzuki does not see potential in diesel engines anymore, especially in small cars
Up until last year, the Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine used to feature heavily in Maruti Suzuki’s entire range. However, the Indian automaker decided to step away from this power plant ahead of BS6 emission norms.
Alongside the discontinuation of the 1.3-litre MJD mill, Maruti Suzuki has chosen a petrol-only product strategy for the BS6 era. Products that were previously available only in diesel format now come with a 1.5-litre petrol engine (with mild-hybrid technology).
With the discontinuation of diesel models, Maruti Suzuki looks at a gap in terms of cost-efficient engine options in its affordable range. The company does not see potential in diesel products anymore, especially in the small-car category. As a result, the company is going big on its CNG portfolio (based on existing petrol variants).
Growth Potential Of CNG Products
In the last financial year, India’s overall passenger vehicle segment grew by 18%. Out of this, CNG category grew by 7%. The Gurgaon-based OEM sold a total of 1,06,443 CNG models in FY2020 and intends to sell around 1.4 to 1.5 lakh units in the current fiscal. Over the last five years, the CNG segment registered a strong 15.5% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate). Maruti Suzuki plans to increase this figure.
An average CNG vehicle costs significantly lesser than its diesel counterpart. Coincidentally, the cost of running it is also lower than that of a conventional diesel example (rising fuel prices aren’t helping in diesel’s favour either). Meanwhile, the Indian Government is inclined towards expanding the nation’s CNG footprint. Currently, there are 1,900 CNG stations in the country spread across 195 cities.
Maruti Suzuki’s Ambitious CNG Plans
Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) believes that investing in the market’s growing CNG segment will return substantial benefits. The company plans to expand its CNG range, which is currently limited to just eight products, drastically.
Maruti Suzuki’s CNG portfolio includes the Celerio, Alto, Eeco, Wagon R, Tour S, S Presso, Super Carry and Ertiga. Rumours suggest that Maruti Suzuki is planning to introduce CNG options for the Swift, Dzire, Ignis and Ciaz as well.
Once the plan materializes, Maruti Suzuki will have a near-complete choice of CNG products. Models such as the Baleno, XL6 and Vitara Brezza would be left out. Interestingly, certain Maruti Suzuki CNG models would be the only option in their respective vehicle categories; a clear advantage over the brand’s competitors.