The fall in prices of petrol in the last one year has spelled doom for CNG kit dealers in Indore.
The petrol prices crashed from nearly Rs 78 per litre in June 2014 to Rs 62 earlier this year before rising back to Rs 73 per litre. However, CNG prices have remained more or less unchanged.
CNG kit dealers in Indore say the business was booming two years ago but the sales dropped by about 80% earlier this year before recovering slightly now.
Suvidha Auto Gas Ltd director Madhukar Agnihotri is of the opinion that car owners are reluctant to buy the kit when there is little incentive, especially when the kit adds weight to the car and cramps up the boot space.
Another reason for the drop in the demand for CNG kits is that there are too few CNG outlets in the city. With auto-rickshaws already running on CNG, four-wheeler owners usually have to wait in long queues to refuel.
“There is no incentive and we are left to deal with the arbitrary drop in fuel prices. If sales continue like this, I may even close down the business,” said another dealer who did not wish to be named.
Cheap Chinese kits, which are of poor quality, have also skewed the market as they are far cheaper than their Italian counterparts. The Chinese kits do not perform as well and deter consumers from getting retrofitting done.
Dealers also rue the fact the CNG prices have remained stable in the last few months. “The CNG prices are anyway higher in Indore than in nearby Dewas. We want the company to slash the prices,” Agnihotri said.
The CNG kit industry is unlikely to see any revival unless there is a steep rise in petrol prices, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.