Last fiscal year (FY2020-21), CNG car sales in the Indian market stood at 1,71,288 units, which is the highest ever sales volume yet for the genre! Compared to the prior fiscal (FY2019-20), this was a 49.22 per cent sales growth, with a total of 1,14,791 CNG-powered vehicles sold during that period.
Consequently, Maruti Suzuki also reported its highest-ever sales figure for CNG cars – 1,48,211 units – in FY2020-21, registering a 41.6 per cent increase on a Year-on-Year (YoY) basis. After the discontinuation of its diesel engines last year, the Indo-Japanese manufacturer decided to shift focus on CNG cars as an alternative.
Hyundai is the only other manufacturer in India that currently offers CNG cars. The South Korean carmaker clocked a sales figure of 23,077 units in FY2020-21 for CNG-powered vehicles, which is a 132.4 per cent growth compared to the fiscal year before (9,930 units sold in FY2019-20). The overall market share of CNG cars stood at 6 per cent in FY2020-21 in the Indian passenger car market, up from 4 per cent in FY2019-20.
The biggest reason for the increase in sales of CNG cars is the increased cost of fuel. With petrol and diesel prices reaching for the sky, buyers are looking for cheaper options, and CNG-powered cars are a brilliant alternative. The low cost of CNG and its relatively higher fuel efficiency means that the running costs are much lower.
Also, CNG filling stations have increased by a huge margin across India in the past few years. Thanks to the increased accessibility, it is now much more practical to own CNG vehicles, especially as personal transport. The number of CNG filling stations in India is expected to increase further in the coming years.
Lastly, the lack of affordable diesel vehicles is also a reason for the increased sales of CNG vehicles. When the BS6 emission norms came into effect last year, a lot of carmakers in India discontinued their diesel-powered models. Some, like Tata Motors, decided to only discontinue diesel engines on their entry-level models, while a few, like Maruti Suzuki, completely discontinued their oil-burners. As such, a lot of people chose to purchase CNG-powered cars instead.