Rising petrol prices have severely impacted the entry-level car segment. Many buyers are opting to for a diesel hatchback from one segment up or at least variants with alternative fuel options – CNG / LPG. The trend is clearly visible from the Alto sales figures; the company sold over 24,000 units of the Alto in July 2011 compared about 17,500 units in July 2012.
In fact, in April this year, the Swift over took the small car as the highest selling model in India. The graph is very similar for most other models in the segment, ever since petrol prices began hovering around Rs 75 per litre in most metros.
The CNG variants seem to be the next best option for those who don’t want to invest a lot more for a diesel model but still want better to limit fuel expenses. Maruti Suzuki hopes to capitalise on this group of buyers by now offering a CNG variant of the successful 1.0-litre Alto K10. The small car major already offers a CNG variant of the 800cc version and it won’t be very difficult to fit the Alto K10 with CNG kit, since the Estilo and the WagonR with the same engine have that option. Of course, this will certainly compromise boot space. Our sources confirm that the CNG variant of the Alto might be launched during the festive season.
In fact, there is also a possibility that the M800’s replacement, the Alto 800, may also get a CNG variant at the time of the launch. The company is also working on a small 800cc diesel engine that will power its small cars in next couple of years.