The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) aims to sell 4-6 lakh CNG units in the current fiscal year depending upon supply situation of essential components, as per a senior company official. The company sold about 2.3 lakh CNG units in 2021-22. MSI currently sells nine of its 15 models with CNG powertrain and is looking to drive in more models with such technology in the coming days.
"It depends on availability (of essential components). But we are looking at any number between 4 lakh and 6 lakh units in the current fiscal," MSI Senior Executive Director (Sales and Marketing) Shashank Srivastava told PTI in an interaction.
He was replying to a query regarding the company's sales projections for the CNG segment in current fiscal year. Srivastava noted that the share of CNG cars in its overall sales is bound to increase over the years as it plans to bring in more models with the alternative fuel technology.
"CNG volumes are now about 17 per cent of our overall sales. We have CNG in nine models and in those models their contribution is about 32-33 per cent," he stated.
Srivastava noted that there is a lot of interest among the consumers for CNG cars because of low running cost and continuous increase in fuel cost. Over the last few years, MSI has witnessed growth in CNG car sales.
It sold 74,000 units in 2016-17; around 1 lakh units in 2018-19; 1.05 lakh units in 2019-20; and 1.62 lakh units in 2020-21. The auto major has stated in the past that the launch of its S-CNG vehicle range is aligned to and complements the government's vision of reducing oil import and enhancing the share of natural gas in the country's primary energy mix from 6.2 per cent now to 15 per cent by 2030.
The government on its part is also working to rapidly increase the CNG fuel pumps network in the country. Elaborating on the dominance of the automaker in the overall PV segment, Srivastava said 8 out of the top ten selling models last fiscal year belonged to the company.
"In fact, the first five positions were held by our models in the top ten list. Ertiga also made it to the list during the period under review," he stated.
He said that the company's market share in the non-SUV segment is close to 66 per cent and it is now working on bringing in new models to consolidate its position in the fast growing SUV segment.
Srivastava noted that the SUV segment grew at a robust pace last fiscal year and now accounts for roughly 40 per cent of the overall domestic passenger vehicle segment.
Touching upon supply chain issues, he said semiconductor shortage has led to huge pending orders in the industry. "We alone are sitting on a pending bookings of around 2.7 lakh units. Rise in commodity prices also impacts the business. We have taken a price hike of around 8.8 per cent from January 2021 till now."
Commenting on the overall domestic passenger vehicle industry, Srivastava said segment volumes grew to about 30.7 lakh units in the last fiscal year, a growth of 13 per cent, from 27.11 lakh units in 2020-21.
"This is only the fourth time in the Indian auto industry that the volume has crossed the 30 lakh-mark. However this figure is 9 per cent less than the peak of 2018-19 so that is a matter of concern for the industry that we are not able to reach that peak level," he said adding that it is mainly on account of supply chain issues.
When asked about the outlook for the current fiscal year, Srivastava noted that the industry is expected to grow around 13-15 per cent during the period. However, there are also various risk factors like COVID situation and semiconductor shortage which could have an impact on the overall outcomes in the current financial year.
When asked specifically about MSI, he said : "It is difficult to predict as visibility on the supply side needs to be there, which is not the case right now. But like always we would like to grow at the rate of the industry if not better."
On the production scenario, Srivastava stated that the automaker is yet to hit 100 per cent capacity.
"We were around 95 per cent of the production in February and March. We have witnessed progressive increase but it is not 100 per cent and now also in this quarter we are not expecting it to hit 100 per cent," he said.
Currently, MSI has a cumulative production capacity of around 5.5 lakh units per quarter or about 22 lakh units per annum across its manufacturing plants in Haryana and Gujarat.
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