Maruti Suzuki India ltd - the country’s largest vehicle manufacturer- on Saturday launched a new variant of its multi-purpose vehicle Ertiga that will run on an engine powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). This will be the first utility vehicle in India that will not run a petrol or diesel-powered engine.
As Maruti plans to phase out diesel engines from its product portfolio, the company is betting big on vehicles powered by CNG engines to replace the diesel ones. The Ertiga CNG variant is an indication of the company’s strategy to move its potential diesel customers towards CNG vehicles, especially the fleet segment buyers.
In India, almost 80% of buyers of sport utility vehicles prefer diesel engines.
Maruti is expected to introduce CNG variants of most of its popular models before April, 2020, when the new Bharat VI emission norms will kick in.
According to the company, it has sold 61,000 units of the the new version of the multi purpose vehicle since it was launched last year.
The union government has been pushing vehicles manufacturers to move towards alternate fuel solutions like Compressed Natural Gas and Liquified Natural Gas in the short term before shifting to electric powertrain in the long run.
The National Democratic Alliance government plans to set up 10000 CNG pumps so that customers can buy such vehicles as an alternate to petrol and diesel vehicles.
Mint on 6 February, reported that Maruti plans to sell 2 lakh diesel vehicles by 2022 as the company thinks CNG can be an effective replacement of diesel and which will also help the company adhere to stringent CAFE norms, to be introduced from 2022.
“The next generation Ertiga is the only MPV in the country to offer factory-fitted CNG option. The factory fitted CNG vehicle comes with standard warranty benefits and convenience of Maruti Suzuki’s service network spread across India. The CNG-powered Ertiga will offer maximum performance with dual ECU (engine control unit) with intelligent-gas port injection system," the company said in statement.
According to Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing, Maruti Suzuki, with the CNG-powered Ertiga, customers will be able to enjoy the benefit of better fuel economy and superior technology which is safe, reliable and environment friendly.