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Maruti launches CNG variants of top five models

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Maruti Suzuki Friday launched eco-friendly compressed natural gas (CNG) versions of five of its top selling cars and gain market share.

The country’s largest car manufacturer unveiled here the new variants of its Alto, Wagon R, Estilo, SX4 and Eeco with CNG engine kits.

‘This is the first instance when a car manufacturer has developed and launched factory-fitted technologically superior CNG engines in India. CNG is environmentally friendly and also reduces the country’s dependence on imported fuel,’ said Shinzo Nakanishi, chief executive, Maruti Suzuki.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who was present at the event as chief guest, said: ‘This is a bold step by Maruti to bring in this technology. By providing supply first, they will create automatic demand.’

The minister also announced that all the vehicles to be bought by his ministry now on will only be CNG-run vehicles and not the present Ambassador car which he described as fuel-inefficient.

Priced between Rs.3.23 lakh and Rs.7.47 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), the new variants are said to save around 40-60 percent of transportation cost.

‘The cost of these cars will eventually come down, once the cars only use one fuel like CNG. For that we need to create more distribution network for the fuel to reach the people,’ said L. Mansingh, chairman, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB).

He hoped that with the increasing availability of CNG in the country, more gas stations will come up in the near future.

‘We believe that in the next five years we will be able to have 330 gas distribution centres in the country which will be able to cater to five million vehicles running on CNG. In about three years’ time, I expect that CNG stations will cover all the highways in the country,’ Mansingh added.

All five variants will feature Maruti’s patented i-GPI technology(intelligent gas port injection) technology and improved suspension system. The buyers will have the option of clean fuel CNG or conventional fuel.

According to the company, CNG-engine cars are much safer in comparison to the retro-fitted CNG kits which are available in the market.

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