July 26, 2019. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest vehicle manufacturer, launched a new variant of its multi-purpose vehicle Ertiga that will run on an engine powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). This will be the first utility vehicle in India that will not run a petrol or diesel-powered engine.

As Maruti plans to phase out diesel engines from its product portfolio, the company is betting big on vehicles powered by CNG engines to replace the diesel ones. The Ertiga CNG variant is an indication of the company’s strategy to move its potential diesel customers towards CNG vehicles, especially the fleet segment buyers.

In India, almost 80% of buyers of sport utility vehicles prefer diesel engines.

Maruti is expected to introduce CNG variants of most of its popular models before April, 2020, when the new Bharat VI emission norms will kick in.

According to the company, it has sold 61,000 units of the new version of the multipurpose vehicle since it was launched last year.

“The next generation Ertiga is the only MPV in the country to offer factory-fitted CNG option. The factory fitted CNG vehicle comes with standard warranty benefits and convenience of Maruti Suzuki’s service network spread across India. The CNG-powered Ertiga will offer maximum performance with dual ECU (engine control unit) with intelligent-gas port injection system,” the company said in statement.

According to Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing, Maruti Suzuki, with the CNG-powered Ertiga, customers will be able to enjoy the benefit of better fuel economy and superior technology which is safe, reliable and environment friendly.