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Maruti mulls CNG variants across all models

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After rolling out five compressed natural gas (CNG) models last year, India’s largest passenger car maker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), is mulling a CNG platform for all its makes.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers’ conference here, Alok Jaitley, general manager, homologation-environment planning, MSIL, said: “We are working on CNG models. We have already launched five vehicles on this platform and eventually plan to offer all our models on a CNG platform.”

Maruti has 11 models in the market, excluding its two completely built units, the Grand Vitara sports utility vehicle and the Kizashi sedan.

MSIL introduced CNG-driven variants of its Alto, WagonR and Estilo small cars, the multi-utility Eeco and the SX4 sedan last July. Already, the CNG variants comprise nearly 10 per cent of the net sales of these models, which are available only in Delhi and the National Capital Region, Maharashtra and Gujarat, Jaitely said. The company plans to offer the CNG variants in other states as the network of CNG stations expand. At present, the gas network covers not more than 28 per cent of the overall vehicles market.

“Gujarat is one of the major markets for our CNG vehicles,” said I V Rao, managing executive officer-engineering, MSIL, adding that Delhi was the largest market for CNG as of now. The cost of operating a CNG vehicle is almost a third of a petrol car. CNG costs Rs 29.30 per kg, as compared to Rs 62 a litre for petrol and Rs 40 a litre for diesel.