Maruti Suzuki India plans to introduce a compressed natural gas variant of its recently upgraded WagonR hatchback within the next three months, which could be about Rs 70,000 costlier than the existing version.
"Maruti Suzuki is working on at least five models across different segments to launch the CNG variants, which will come as dual mode with petrol, and these will be launched during the next quarter," a source said.
The move is a part of the company's plans to expand its portfolio of eco-friendly vehicles, which could see other models such as Alto, Eeco, Estilo and SX4 also powered by CNG fuel, industry sources said.
"WagonR will be the first one among these models to be launched with the CNG version," the source said. When contacted, Maruti Suzuki India managing executive officer (Engineering) I V Rao said: "We have been working on CNG technology for the last two years and it is almost ready. We had shown the technology during Delhi Auto Expo this year."
He, however, declined to comment on the model range and any timeframe to launch the products.
Asked about the possible price of the vehicles, Rao said, "These products are of high quality and there will be no compromise on safety standards. Most of the parts are imported from Europe, the US and Japan. There will be some cost to it."
Sources, however, said that going by the specifications and performance of the CNG kit that Maruti Suzuki is fitting in the cars, these variants will be about Rs 70,000 more expensive.
In April, the company had launched the new generation WagonR, priced between Rs 3,28,000 and Rs 3,81,000.
MSI currently offers dual fuel mode in its M800 and Omni models, which are available in liquefied petroleum gas-cum-petrol variants also.
Earlier, the WagonR was also available in an LPG variant, but the company stopped producing it after launching the new WagonR.
It has so far sold over 200,000 vehicles fitted with alternative fuel technology. Rao said the CNG models with a factory-fitted kit will deliver almost the same performance as the petrol variants.
Earlier last year, MSI chairman R C Bhargava had said the company will roll out CNG variants of its entire range of cars from 2010.