Chennai: With fuel prices going through the roof and Phase II of Cafe norms right around the corner, car companies are devising strategies to take on the mileage challenge. While Maruti, with upto 33% mileage improvement in the last 10 years, is clearly ahead of the game and continues to dominate the top 10 most fuel efficient models list (see table), others like Tata Motors and Nissan are trying out a combination of new technology and alternative fuel solutions to tap into this opportunity.
The fuel efficiency pecking order in India has remained more or less unchanged with the top 3 most mileage-friendly petrol models (Glanza, Baleno, Dzire) remaining unchanged between July 2020 and July 2021 show JATO data. “Maruti dominates the chart last year and this year with models like Dzire, Baleno, Alto800 and WagonR because it has implemented technologies like smart hybrid and start-stop.
As a volume leader they can implement technologies more economically but with Cafe norms on the horizon other OEMs will also start prioritising mileage,” said Ravi Bhatia, president, JATO Dynamics.
Maruti is already looking to “proliferate new technologies across the lineup and get more aggressive on CNG,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director-marketing & sales, Maruti Suzuki. “We have plans to expand hybrid start and stop tech across most models in the line up”, he said. adding that other improvements like high tensile steel will also be similarly expanded.
Maruti will also focus more on CNG adding another 3-4 models shortly to its lineup of 8 cars. “In mass models like Celerio and WagonR, nearly 70% of the sales are CNG in big markets like Delhi and Mumbai,” he added. For Nissan, which has Datsun Redi-GO in the mileage winner list, mileage is a critical selling point. “The Datsun Redi-GO is low on cost of operation with high fuel efficiency which presents a strong value proposition,” said Rakesh Srivastava, MD, Nissan Motor India.
For Tata Motors, a foray into CNG and more electric models is the strategy for better mileage scores. “Cafe and BS6 regulations are driving mileage improvement and we are looking at alternative powertrain options. We will debut our CNG products this fiscal and EV and CNG will be our big focus.
We will launch one new EV this year,” said Shailesh Chandra, president-passenger vehicles business unit, Tata Motors. As for Toyota, globally it depends heavily on hybrids and that will play an important role in its Cafe strategy for India as well, said sources.