Even as the price of compressed natural gas (CNG) witnessed were reduced in April, the number of CNG vehicles registed witnessed a dip. A total of only 29,323 CNG vehicles were registered last month compared with 33,652 units in March, according to Vahan data.

The prices were reduced after the Cabinet committee, on April 6, CNG prices approved the new plan for domestic natural gas pricing.

Temporary phenomenon

Automobile experts are of the opinion that the dip in registrations is temporary and there will be an uptick in the sales of CNG vehicles soon.

“The dip is mainly due to the transition from OBD1 to OBD2 norms as all OEMs did not have a smooth transition in every model. There has also been an issue with the supply of vehicles. The sales of CNG vehicles will pick up in the coming months,” said Manish Raj Singhania, President, Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA).

“CNG fueling infrastructure has been improving at a healthy pace across the country, with the fuel availability in tier-2 cities also improving. The government has set an aggressive target to ramp up the number of CNG fueling stations. The proportion of CNG units, EVs and hybrids is likely to materially increase as a proportion of new vehicle sales over the next 3-4 years, with CNG expected to emerge as the second most popular power train,” said Rohan Kanwar Gupta, Vice President & Sector Head - Corporate Ratings, ICRA.

Sales uptick

Maruti Suzuki, which has a 35 per cent penetration in CNG vehicles, is anticipating an uptick in sales and is targeting to sell 4.5 lakh vehicles in FY24.

“With the lowering of gas prices, the inquiries and bookings for CNG models have again gained momentum. Customers value that CNG is not only a greener technology but also has a lower cost of running compared with gasoline-powered vehicles. We expect the demand for CNG vehicles to remain robust. Maruti Suzuki has the clear advantage of a vast range of 14 models offered with a CNG option,” Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, Marketing & Sales, MSIL, told businessline.