CNG and electric power appeal to those car buyers looking for clean and affordable running, and both come at a premium over petrol vehicles. However, there is an interesting dissimilarity in their brand image – while EVs are seen as premium and upmarket, CNG powered cars are mainly thought of as more rudimentary and sub-premium.
- CNG vehicles seen as sub-premium compared to electric or even petrol cars
- CNG cars are usually limited to lower trims and less featues
- Tata Motors bucked the trend with top-spec trims of Tiago and Tigor CNG
Having to fuel at different pumps and lining up behind what are mostly public transport vehicles has certainly dented the market appeal of CNG cars. Manufacturers, too, have looked at buyers as those on a tight budget and less likely to spend, thus limiting CNG power to lower trim variants and, at times, even limited paint shade options, thus abetting this brand image erosion.
With the launch of its new CNG Tiago and Tigor, Tata Motors wants to change all that. Speaking to Autocar India, Mohan Savarkar, vice president and product line head at Tata Motors, said, “Earlier, it was assumed that people who bought CNG cars were budget buyers and had no other needs, but in conversations with customers, we found that most wanted higher end features in CNG too; thus, these launches [top end variants] are the first step in the journey of premium-isation of CNG.”
Both CNG Tiago and Tigor have the top-end XZ + versions on offer, and while the Tiago CNG has a total of four variants – including the base XE trim – the Tigor, interestingly, is limited to only the top two. Savarkar said the company has seen its sedan customers show a greater preference for higher trims, and thus the brand chose to offer the Tigor CNG in the top two versions only.
Tata Motors has also added a new shade and introduced a few new features like rain-sensing wipers on the Tigor, and projector headlamps as well as a new premium black and beige interior colour scheme on the Tiago.
Interestingly, however – and as is the case with other manufacturers too – there is no automatic transmission on offer with CNG power. Though that is likely to change at Tata Motors, with Savarkar saying, “It’s definitely technically possible, and maybe that’s the next step for us.” The company remained tight-lipped about a possible launch date though.
What do you think of Tata offering top-spec trims of Tiago, Tigor for CNG? Let us know in the comments below.