It has been more than six years since compressed natural gas (CNG) was introduced in Indore, but the sales of CNG cars continue to remain dismal.
Car dealers say that poor availability of CNG outlets coupled with high gas prices are some of the factors responsible for the dismal sales.
"Less number of CNG filling stations and rise in CNG prices in the past few years are the main factors for low sales. Maruti sells only one to two CNG cars in the city every month as consumers prefer to buy diesel variants," Maruti dealer Patel Motors’ general manager Hidaytullah Khan said.
Other companies including Tata and Mahindra have also reported poor sales.
For the cars in which the gas kits are not factory fitted, the kit (cylinder) occupies most of the boot space allotted for luggage. Moreover, poor pick up of the CNG vehicles in comparison to the petrol and diesel ones could be another reason for people still preferring fuel-based vehicles.
The CNG compact cars cost about Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 more depending on the model.
At present, there are 10 CNG outlets in the city. Since most auto-rickshaws were made to run on CNG, there are long queues at the filling station and this dissuades car buyers from opting for CNG variants.
The expansion of CNG filling stations in the city has been moving at a slow pace.
The city distributor Avantika Gas Ltd says that there is no shortage of gas in the city, but the lack of infrastructure is preventing them to improve the supply network.
Company officials put the blame on delay in getting permissions for laying the pipeline network.