Maruti Suzuki unlikely to launch Ciaz S-CNG sedan: Here’s why!

Maruti Suzuki has introduced CNG variants for two of its Nexa offerings, the Baleno and the XL6. Nexa models typically contribute to 20 percent of the automaker’s total volumes. Out of that 20 percent, the Baleno hatchback makes up for 60 percent share. Maruti Suzuki estimates that the Baleno S-CNG will take up 14-15 percent of the model’s share in the coming months. However, we were curious to know why only the Baleno and the XL6 have been chosen for the S-CNG option and why not other long-running models such as the Ciaz sedan. Here is what we found out.
It is no secret that the popularity of sedans has dwindled with buyers preferring SUVs and other sub-segments. However, Maruti Suzuki is still the market leader in the sedan space. “Actually the overall sedan segment has taken a hit over the years, in 2015-16 it was about 24 percent of the industry and has come down to about 10 percent now.” Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd told TOI Auto.


Maruti Suzuki dominates the sedan market share with its entry-level sedan, the Dzire. Srivastava says, “Even after the disruption we saw in the supply for the Dzire model, the entry sedan still remained the highest-selling car commanding around 7.5 percent of the total 10 percent sedan market share. So the entry sedan segment is the most important and that is where CNG matters a lot more, whether it is fleets or private ownership.”
This means that the shrinking market share of premium mid-size sedans is the reason why Maruti Suzuki is shying away from offering the S-CNG in the Ciaz. “As premium and mid-size sedans only comprise 2.5 percent of overall sales, it is unlikely that we will bring CNG to the Ciaz, as the segment itself has shrunk even more.” Srivastava said.
On the other hand, other manufacturers such as Volkswagen AG are betting big on sedans with the Skoda Slavia and Volkswagen Virtus. According to Ashish Gupta, Volkswagen India Brand Director, “Market analysis shows that the SUV segment has grown at the expense of hatchbacks and not the sedans. In 2021, overall sedan sales ended between 90-95 thousand cars. Out of which, 75 per cent were smaller sub-4-metre sedans and 25 per cent were premium mid-size sedans where the Virtus is positioned. Going forward, the sedan segment is expected to grow to 140,000 to 150,000 by end of FY22-23. Volkswagen intends to capture 15-20 per cent of the segment with the new Virtus by selling 2-2,500 cars per month.”


Is leaving the Ciaz sedan out of the S-CNG line-up a hit or miss for Maruti Suzuki? Tell us in the comments.

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