The Indian automobile industry has had a bad summer in general this time, with several automakers seeing their sales contract, including Maruti Suzuki India which noted a 14.4 per cent drop in sales to 84,677 units. Moreover, its top-selling diesel-based cars like the Swift and the Ertiga have also seen their sales decline for the very first time in May. In order to bring things back to normal, the company is expanding on a new strategy by lining up a CNG version of the Ertiga compact MPV for launch next week.
The Indian automobile maker will be offering the Ertiga CNG in two of its existing variants: LXi and VXi only. The top-end ZXi variant will not be getting the CNG option. Moreover, the CNG version of the compact MPV will be offered at a premium of about Rs. 30,000 over the existing price-tag of each regular variant.
Maruti Suzuki India is following a well-thought strategy by offering CNG versions of its existing models. With diesel prices on the rise, consumers are no longer buying diesel vehicles, which saw a great burst of demand when the government hiked petrol prices sharply last year. Thus, in such a scenario, CNG-based vehicles emerge as the perfect option to price-conscious customers who are looking to save up on fuel costs. Interestingly, the Maruti Ertiga is not the first Maruti vehicle to be available in all the fuel options: the SX4 holds that claim to fame.
Up till now, Maruti has followed a policy of offering CNG variants on models that have solely petrol-based versions and no diesel option. This is because plenty of effort goes into modifying the engine as well as the suspension. Thus, the Ertiga CNG marks a shift in policy of the carmaker.